Friday, November 21, 2014

PDX Beer News - Upcoming Holiday Events


PDX Bottle Share at Imperial!
November 29th - 10:00AM and 2:00PM

Wreath Making Seminar at McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

Cost: $25 per person; tickets required. Stop by after picking out the perfect tree to learn how to make a beautiful wreath while sipping on a glass of Kris Kringle! All ages welcome.


CLICK HERE for map and directions.

December 3rd through December 7th

2014 Holiday Ale Festival
The winter beer festival everyone gets excited about! Held in the official center of Portland, Pioneer Courthouse Square, under spacious, toasty warm tents; the Holiday Ale Festival will feature dozens of unique winter warmers, many of which were specially crafted by local brewers for the event. This one is simply not to be missed.

Download the official program here: https://holidayale.com/gui/assets/2014EventProgram.pdf

Advance general admission tickets are $35 and include a taster mug, 14 taster tokens and expedited entry for all five days of the festival. Order tix here: http://holidayale.com/advance-tickets.php

CLICK HERE for map and directions.

December 6th - 3:00PM

PDX Bottle Share Holiday Party
For the second year in a row, Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom will host the PDX Bottle Share Holiday Party. This year should be bigger, better and badder than ever! Join dozens of Portland's most friendly craft beer enthusiasts for an afternoon of fun and surprises. Admission is free, but bring a bottle of craft beer or cider to share. 21 + only.

CLICK HERE for map and directions to Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom

December 8th - 12 noon until 5:00PM 

McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse 5th Annual Holiday Market 
Cost: Free admission; all ages welcome. Nothing will get you in a festive mood quite like McMenamins’ annual Holiday Market. More than 60 local vendors will be showcasing Northwest artisan homemade wares from jewelry to fudge. Bring the whole family!

CLICK HERE for map and directions.


Beer Money

Show me the money!
Craft beer is my hobby...my very expensive hobby. How expensive, you ask? I'm not really sure. I've never put pencil to paper to try to figure it out. I do keep track of the beers I've "collected" with the Untappd app. In the past year, I've logged in about 1300 beers. A bomber of craft beer averages about $5...WOW! That's more that $6,500! That doesn't even take into consideration beer I've purchased for others and the considerable number of beers I never bothered to check in. Holy guacamole, Batman! I spend a lot of money on beer!

It's clearly understandable why a lot folks with tight budgets drink cheap (terrible tasting) macro-brews. You can buy an entire 12 pack of PBR for less than the price of a premium craft beer sixer. But, hey, I'm not rich--not by any stretch of the imagination--yet I'm able to work craft beer into my meager discretionary spending. I do it by scrimping on other things that don't result in offending my palate, and you may be surprised how much money you can save with just a few lifestyle tweaks. My simple rule: Go cheap on everything except food, drink and toilet paper. Want some unsolicited budget saving tips? I know, nobody does, but here they are anyway:

1) Don't buy paper towels. I know I previously said not to go cheap on toilet paper. That's because raking splinter-filled bargain TP across your bum is an ABOMINATION. Just...no. Paper towels, on the other hand, only get raked across your kitchen counter. Instead of wasting your money and killing trees, invest in these things called...rags! They are almost infinitely washable and reusable. Think of the money you'll save! If you're currently using a roll of paper towels a week, and a roll costs a buck, you'll save $52 a year! That's about 10 bombers of beer!

2) Don't buy disposable razors. What a freaking rip-off these things are! A 10 pack of Gillette Sensor blades runs about $20! I use a Merkur safety razor that set me back about $25--five years ago. The platinum blades cost--get this--less than a nickel each! The box of 100 that I have in my medicine cabinet will likely last through the rest of my LIFE! You can save anywhere from $50 to $100 a year with my shave set-up.

3) Get rid of your car. This one isn't for everybody, but if you live and work in an urban environment, like Portland, you can get along perfectly fine without a car. I haven't owned a car for 3 years. Instead, I take the MAX or TriMet bus almost everywhere I go. Yes, my wife has a car and I use it occasionally, but truthfully, I prefer public transportation most of the time. My monthly pass costs me $100. A car payment is going to cost you at least $200 a month. Then there's gas and insurance costs. I estimate that I save about $4,000 a year! That's a considerable chunk of my beer budget!

4) Happy hour! This one is a no brainer. If I'm going out drinking, I go early and treat myself and the missus to the practically endless pub grub bargains available at Stumptown's innumerable happy hours! Ever have the $5 HH burger at Slow Bar? No? It's cheap on the price but high on the quality. That's just one example of the great HH eats in this burg.

5) Homebrew! Another no brainer. Even a mediocre homebrew will taste better than a crappy macro. Born On Date? Ha! How about a You Just Brewed It and Bottled It Yourself Date? After an initial set up cost for necessary brewing equipment (about $200), you can brew 5 gallons of your own beer for about $30. That's about $1.25 for a bomber. You can't beat the price OR the satisfaction of knowing you made it yourself!

6) Repair, Re-purpose, Re-use. This one is easier than it sounds. The next time some gadget, gizmo or thing-a-ma-jig breaks down, don't throw it away and get another one. Try to fix it first! But I don't know how to fix stuff, says you? Guess what! I bet somebody does and it's quite likely they posted a video on YouTube showing YOU exactly how it's done! I've been successful doing electrical work, plumbing, patching, finishing furniture, bike repairs, you name it!

Okay, that's enough cheapy preachy from me for the night. I hope that you are able to fit tasty, tasty craft beer into your budget. I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have for doing brew on the cheap!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Widmer Brothers Brewing - Steel Bridge Porter

It's a steel!
I sure do love tasty, tasty beer. Do you know what I love even more? Tasty, tasty beer ON SALE! Yes! Give me a deal that stretches my beer budget and I'm a happy man. Today, I found Widmer Brothers Brewing's Steel Bridge Porter on sale at New Seasons for $2.99 for the 22 oz. bomber. Deal!

That's a handsome label on the bottle and an appropriate name for a beer brewed here in Portland, Oregon. Portland is bisected by the majestic Willamette River (pronounced Will-AM-ette, damn it!) and the bridges that span the waterway are some of the most easily recognized landmarks in the City of Roses.

My most favorite bridge is the Steel Bridge. It's a squat, ugly piece of steam-punk metal that has faithfully served the citizens of Stumptown for over a hundred years. What the Steel Bridge loses in aesthetics, it more than makes up in utility. Thousands of commuters cross over the Steel Bridge every day, by bike, car and MAX train. Does the beer live up to the rep of the bridge? Let's find out!

The beer poured into my glass a pitch black color with a massive, creamy, mocha head. The head was more than two fingers thick and dissipated slowly. A full cap of lacing was left behind.

Aroma was roasted malt up front. Notes of cocoa and coffee. Just what you would expect from a porter.

Taste followed the nose. Rich, roasted malt flavor with just a hint of smokiness. Milk chocolate and espresso. Mildly bitter at the end.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Smooth, creamy finish. No hint of any alcohol taste to this 5.6% brew.

Overall, this is a nice, easy drinking beer. Very pleasant. Not a flavor bomb by any stretch, but it's perfect for what it is: a well-crafted, affordable porter. I like it and I'm giving Steel Bridge Porter a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Hop Haus Brewery - Cocos Nucifera Coconut Porter

Cuckoo for coconut!
The first and foremost reason why I drink craft beer is taste. That's the bottom line, actually. If craft beer didn't taste better, I'd still be drinking macros. Of course, once I had my first, delicious, hoppy, flavorful craft beer (Stone's Arrogant Bastard), there was no turning back!

There are other reasons why I enjoy drinking craft beer. Here in Beervana, there's the thriving beer culture and the social aspect. Drinking tasty brews and hanging out with other craft beer aficionados is fun. It's also awesome to be able to support local brewers with my beer money.

There are lots of amazing Cinderella stories associated with craft beer. The tale typically goes like this: craft beer geek starts homebrewing and the hobby takes over his life. Next thing you know, he's got a fully operational micro brewery set up in his garage. He wins some local brewing competitions. Soon, he's distributing his beer out of the back of his station wagon. Fast forward a decade, and that beer geek is brewing zillions of barrels of fantastic suds, and he's a BILLIONAIRE! Hey! It's happened!

Tonight, I'm drinking a true microbrew. The Hop Haus Brewery is the working class dream of owner/brewer Steve Wesley. He's a heck of a nice guy, too. I had the opportunity to ask Steve a few probing questions about his fledgling brewery. Here's what Steve had to say:

1) How long have you been brewing beer? Where did you start and where have you been?

I did my first batch of homebrew with my roommate in our apartment in Clackamas in 1993. We got a extract kit and the basics to do what we figured would be a great clone of Black Butte Porter. Well after destroying the place with sticky steam and mess we did get an end product, and we thought is was pretty good after opening the first bottle. I believe after a few months, the remaining bottles were dumped down the drain! I would love to have a taste of that brew today just to know. So that is where it started, and I have been brewing off and on ever since. Did some competitions here and there over the years, but really got the bug to take this to the next level about 6 years ago.

2) What is your personal brewing philosophy?

I suppose it has been control what you can control and be anal about it! At the home brewing level many of the variables such as stable temperature, water chemistry, closed loop transfers etc...are a challenge; but you can control sanitation, quality ingredients, TLC, and as much as you can for good water and temperature. So that is what I have done; Number 1 - start with good brewing water.

3) What do you consider your biggest brewing influences?

Having never studied under a "brewmaster" or never been part of an organized brew crew or brewing club everything has been self taught over the 20 years. I have read plenty of books and read Zymurgy cover to cover every month. I think creating different unique specialty beers that you don't see everyday, and doing them well through a bit of trial and error. I know there are many breweries, but I suppose Rogue, Dogfish Head, Fort George, and ALL of the crazy beers I see at the brewfests I attend give me ideas. I like creating out of the box beers, but not so out there that nobody will want to drink them!

4) What are your current goals? Where do you see your brewing adventures taking you in the near future and beyond?

Start small, get established, secure the brand and the Brewtiful beers. Try to stand out a bit for interesting and quality small scale true nano craft specialty beers. Hopefully The Hop Haus builds its brand and people love the beers. A tap room of course would be awesome, but baby steps and dont get over my head to quickly....but hope to eventually make this the full time gig :) 

 5) You mentioned one of the beers you gave me won a medal. Details, please?

The Coconut Porter won the gold medal in the Oregon State Fair competition in 2013. I entered 4 in the NHC, and although I did not get through to the final round, I did get Silver Certificates on all four of them. It is subjective of course, but the judges notes over the years have really been the biggest help to transition from "homebrew" to quality beer that consumers of fine beer would buy.

6) What info would you like me to pass along to my readers?

Good question. I would love to say we are opening a tap room next week! Come by and enjoy a pint or two. Hopefully that will happen in the next year. For now, we are getting The Hop Haus name out there through some local distribution. Once I have the system up and running in the next couple weeks I have these folks one board to carry the beers...subject to change if they have not given up on me!! Green Dragon ( I brewed the coconut porter with the GDBC in June and we released in August....it sold out in 4 days !); Hot Lips Pizza at the Stadium location (brown ale); Mojave Mexican restaurant in Gresham (chili mango of course); Bar Maven (SE PDX- both the porter and the chili mango); I have also talked with a lot of the local growler fill places too with great reception.

I'd like the thank Steve for taking the time to answer my questions and I certainly wish him success with The Hop Haus.

I'm going to skip my usual step-by-step review of Cocos Nucifera Coconut Porter. Let's just say I'd give it a medal, too! Beautiful pour with a creamy, mocha head. The coconut flavor is present but doesn't overpower. Hints of cocoa and coffee. Creamy finish. I'm thinking this would be FANTASTIC on nitro! Excellent brew and I'm giving it a solid BeerGuyPDX score of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4. Good stuff!


Friday, November 14, 2014

No-Li Brewhouse - Jet Star Imperial IPA

Good? You bet you sweet Schwarzkopf!
Man, I guess I won't be needing that flu shot I was set to get next week. This rotten bug has me laid out. I'm calling it "The Devil's Most Heinous Influenza from Hell". Chills, body aches, sinus congestion, hacking cough, intestinal distress...yay, I'm looking forward to an awesome weekend. This is gonna suck! Hey, at least I have a fridge full of tasty, tasty beer.

Wait, I can't smell the beer! I can't taste the beer! Everything smells like Vicks Vap-O-Rub and tastes like boogers! Oh, the humanity! This is REALLY gonna suck!

Nevertheless, my work must go on. Thus, I'm drinking a Jet Star Imperial IPA from Spokane's No-Li Brewhouse. It's probably not fair to review a beer in my current condition, but I'm giving it my best shot.

The beer poured into my IPA glass slightly hazy, golden orange color with a foamy, white head. The head rose up to more than an inch and dissipated slowly, Copious sheets of lacing were left behind all over the glass. What a good looking beer!

Aroma was citrus and mild pine with a HUGE dose of tropical fruit. Mango, pineapple, guava. Wow, even with my partially disabled sniffer, this brew delivers some wonderful smells.

Taste followed the nose. Orange, tangerine and tropical fruit. Sweet malt in the background. Nice bitter bite at the end balanced the initial sweetness. No hint of alcohol taste in this 8.1% beer.

Medium mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. Earthy malt lingers on the finish. Nice!

Overall, this is a dang decent IPA. It had enough pizzazz to make an impact on my debilitated senses. I'm giving Jet Star a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4, AND a Droolie. Merry the Wonder Beagle loved the smell of this one.


PDX Beer News - November Pressers

Only in Rip City, baby!
Kells Brewery announces partnership with Portland Trail Blazers
New taproom introduces Kells handcrafted ales to thousands of basketball fans and craft beer lovers alike

PORTLAND, Ore. – Nov. 12, 2014 – Kells Brewery at 210 NW 21st Ave. has announced a partnership with the Portland Trail Blazers that introduces the Irish brewery’s handcrafted beer to thousands of Blazer fans and craft beer lovers alike.

The local family-run restaurant and brewery has recently installed a taproom on the 300 level of the Moda Center; craft beer lovers can also find Kells beers throughout the stadium at select locations, and pre- and post-game at Dr. Jack’s, located just across the concourse from the southwest entrance.

“We chose to install a taproom in the Moda Center because, as locals, we are longtime devoted fans of the Trail Blazers,” explained Kells Brew Pub manager and lead brewer Garrett McAleese. “We are looking forward to the exposure that the partnership will bring to our beer.”

There are currently six beers on tap at the Kells Tap Room at the Moda Center, including Kells Irish Red, IPA, Lager, Pale, Fresh Hop (seasonal) and Stout. Kells has also announced plans to bottle its popular Kells Irish Red in 12-oz bottles, which will be available in early 2015.

Kells has already supported the Blazers for a number of years with its double-decker bus, transporting legions of fans to and from the games.

Kells Brewery recently won the Willamette Week Beer Pro/Am People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice award for its Boom Roasters Coffee Milk Stout, a collaboration between homebrewer Natalie Baldwin and Kells head brewer Dave Fleming that will also be served at the upcoming Holiday Ale Festival in Pioneer Courthouse Square Dec. 3 through 7.

In addition to the Moda Center taproom, Kells beers can be tasted at Kells Brew Pub in NW Portland, and at Kells Irish Pub at 210 NW 21st Ave. in downtown. For hours and additional information, visit www.kellsbrewpub.com or call 503-719-7175.

ABOUT KELLS Serving the Northwest since 1983, Kells is a local family-run establishment that is consistently voted and ranked among the top Irish pubs in the United States. With locations in Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, it is a touchstone of each community that stays true to its roots, annually hosting the largest St. Patrick’s Day festival in the Northwest. Owners Gerard and Lucille McAleese are also recognized for their generosity to a number of nonprofits and community organizations.


Cascade Brewing Announces Figaro Release

Cascade Brewing released 2013 Figaro in 750 ml bottles and on draft this pastWednesday at both the Barrel House and Raccoon Lodge.

This NW style sour ale is a strong blond ale aged in chardonnay barrels for up to 12 months, then aged with dried white figs and lemon peel for up to 12 more months. Aromas of sweet figs, golden raisins and citrus zest are the first to be noticed. Hints of white wine grapes, lemon peel and sweet figs roll across the palate, leading to a crisp lemon tartness in the finish that leaves a lingering sweetness on the tongue. 10.7% ABV / $7.5 Glass / $2.50 Taster / $25 750ML bottle (no limit)


Lompoc Brewing to reopen its renovated Sidebar Barrel Tasting Room

 PORTLAND, Ore. – Lompoc Brewing is reopening its Sidebar Barrel Tasting room at 4pm on Thursday, Nov. 20 following a month-long remodel. The new and improved Sidebar, located at 3901 N Williams Ave, now features a glass roll up door that lets in natural light and allows passers by to see inside the cozy bar. It will also allow for extended seating and fresh air in the warmer seasons.

“We really wanted to open up the space to let people see what we do in here,” said Lompoc owner Jerry Fechter. “Sidebar has always been a showcase for our beers, but not everyone knew what happened behind the mural. The new space has a friendly, approachable feel that perfectly complements our North Portland neighborhood.”

Sidebar's lineup of six taps has expanded to an even dozen: 11 Lompoc beers and one rotating cider. The tap list, which will change up to twice weekly, will include both Lompoc’s mainstay ales and lagers and its seasonal and barrel aged specialty beers. There will also be a rotating cheap beer in a can for $2. The tasting room continues to offer cocktails as well. Sidebar is for ages 21 and over.

“At Lompoc, we sidestep stylistic constraints and instead use an artisanal approach best highlighted at our Sidebar location,” explained head brewer Bryan Keilty. “Thinking outside the barrel, we use Kentucky Bourbon, Oregon Whiskey, and Northwest wine barrels to age and ferment our beer, in addition to locally-sourced fruit projects.”

Sidebar regulars will appreciate the addition of a couple of booths, more TVs for soccer and basketball viewing, expanded days and hours, and the implementation of a menu featuring small plates and shareables. The menu, designed by Lompoc corporate chef Mike Parmenter, ranges from Argentinean sliders, mole pork soft tacos and wild mushroom flatbread to the pub’s popular Buffalo wings, nachos and truffle fries.
Sidebar opens at 4pm every Tuesday through Sunday, closing at Midnight Tuesday through Thursday, 1am Friday and Saturday, and 11pm Sunday. The popular space remains available to rent for meetings and private parties. For more information, visit www.lompocbrewing.com or call 503-288-3936.





Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Beer Guy PDX's Holiday Gift Guide - Part 2

I have so many beer-related holiday gift ideas this year, I had to make my annual gift guide a two parter! Just check out all this awesome stuff! (All of which also happens to be on Beer Guy PDX's own Christmas wish list--you know, the one that's scribbled on the back of a beer mat and pinned up on the fridge. Yes, THAT wish list!)


Classy growler transport.
The Leather Bike Growler Carrier

Let's start out with a little piece of equipment that every bicycle ridin', craft beer swillin' Portlander MUST have: a leather bike growler carrier! Come on! You know you want one!

Everybody knows that next to craft beer, the denizens of Portland, OR love their bicycles more than anything in the world. A product that melds those two things together? Yes! You'll be the object of green-eyed envy among all your hip, bikie buds!

The Leather Bike Growler Carrier isn't exactly cheap at $80.00, but it's handcrafted in Missoula, MT without the use of machines. What a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Something you can use for years and pass down to your craft beer swillin' grandchildren!


Forged Beer Bottle Opener with Copper Rivet

Heavy metal.
Imagine you're at a bottle share, surrounded by dozens of beautiful craft beers--and lovely craft beer babes--when suddenly there's a blood curdling scream...

"Oh, my gawd, there's no bottle opener! NO - BOTTLE - OPENER!"

As the entire party breaks down into a pathetic, sobbing, quivering mass of thirsty schlubs, you reach into the rear pocket of your flannel-lined jeans and produce a Forged Beer Bottle Opener with Copper Rivet. Ta-da! Day saved! And you go home with the craft beer babe(s) of your choice!

Okay, that's never gonna happen, but it would still be freakin' awesome to own this anvil hammered piece of steel and copper. At $36.00, it's a tad more pricey than the freebies that jangle around in most folk's pockets, but just think of the oohs and aahs it'll produce when you whip it out and get those tops off!

This handsome and indispensable beer tool is also available at Beerloved.com: http://www.beerloved.com/collections/utility/products/forged-beer-bottle-opener-with-copper-rivet 

Brewvana Portland Brewery Tours Gift Certificate

Brewvana Portland Brewery Tours is without a doubt the best craft brewery tour experience in the best beer city on Planet Earth! Yes, I'm incredibly biased, but I know what I'm talking about. Brewvana has a fleet of buses, driven by friendly, informative and--dare I say--extremely dedicated tour guides who know A LOT about the Portland craft beer scene. If you have a friend or family member who would enjoy a fun time out, experiencing the best beer that Stumptown has to offer, you should seriously consider the gift that keeps on giving: a Brewvana gift certificate.

Tours are offered seven days a week - bus tours, walking tours AND private tours. Gift certificates can be purchased in just about anyone's price range. Heck, if you're lucky, your gift recipient might just bring YOU along!

Certificates are available online at the Brewvana website: http://www.experiencebrewvana.com/merchandise/

Oregon Breweries by Brian Yaeger


"I don't always drink beer, but when I'm not drinking it, I'm reading about it."

Hey, in my book, that's what a truly "interesting man" would say. Do you know that hip, young Millennials are more likely to read a book that crabby, moldy, old people over 40? It's true! No, it's not, I made that up, but it could be true! Jeesh, I'm a Baby Boomer--the "I'll wait until it comes out on video" generation. Whatever happened to reading is FUNdamental?

Well, if you like Oregon beer, or you would like to KNOW all about Oregon beer, and you're not afraid to crack the spine of a real, honest to gosh book, do I have a holiday gift idea for you!

Oregon Breweries by Brian Yaeger has 416 pages chock-full of all kinds of useful information about 190 breweries and taprooms. It's like an Audubon Society Field Guide for BEER! Imagine being able to spot the elusive Hair of the Dog, or get up close and personal with the breathtaking Deschutes! All you need is this amazing book...and maybe a pith helmet.

Oregon Breweries can be purchased on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0811712117

Magnetic Bear Bottle Opener

Grrrrrr!
Do you have a man cave? Or a lady den? You know, someplace you go to quietly reflect on life's foibles while you imbibe a few cold craft brewskis at the end of a long, crappy day? If you answered yes, then how could you not want to decorate your special space with the AWESOME Magnetic Bear Bottle Opener?

Now, before you spout off about how you would "never buy that gawd-awful, stupid thing", I have to tell you up front...I own one.

Yes, it's butt-fugly, but there's something so satisfying about cramming a bottle into that bear's mouth and cranking off that bottle cap! Take that, Smokey!

The Magnetic Bear Bottle Opener is available at Perpetual Kid for $24.99: http://www.perpetualkid.com/magnetic-bear-bottle-opener.aspx 

Well, that's if for part 2! Will there be a Holiday Gift Guide Part 3? Maybe! As I stated in the previous post, the images here were all swiped off the websites of the noted sellers of this cool swag. If anyone wants me to unlink their pics, just say the word! 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Beer Guy PDX's Holiday Gift Guide - 2014

It's that time of year already? Yup, Thanksgiving is just days away and then it's BLACK FRIDAY! National Excessive Shopping Day! I don't know about you, but there's nothing I hate more than hitting the mall and fighting my way through a throng of holiday shoppers. They're vicious! Snarling, drooling, biting. It's like being in an episode of The Walking Dead.

Nope, that scene is NOT for me, and if you're cut from the same cloth as good ol' Wolf Linderman, you will appreciate this latest installment of my annual Holiday Gift Guide. You may remember last year's beer-themed Holiday Gift Guide. It's baaaaack, but this year, I've decided to branch out into some other, closely related gift ideas.

First on my list this year:

McMenamins Holiday Liquor Gift Packs

If you're a Portlander, you know that McMenamins brews beer, but did you know they also distill craft spirits? Well, they do, and it's mighty tasty liquor, too! I'm a big fan of their Monkey Puzzle Whiskey. I sure wouldn't mind finding some under my tree this Christmas morning...and wouldn't you know it, McMenamins has holiday liquor gift packs!

McMenamins Whiskey Trio Pack with bottles of Billy Whiskey (new!), Monkey Puzzle and Hogshead Whiskey. 
•  McMenamins Hot Buttered Rum Pack with Three Rocks Spiced Rum and hot buttered rum mix. 
McMenamins Phil & Satin’s Cosmic Coffee Kit with coffee liqueur, Phil Hazelnut Liqueur (new!) and house-roasted coffee.

Starting Nov. 21, 2014, each of the McMenamins Holiday Liquor Gift Packs are available for $50, while supplies last, at McMenamins 12 area gift shops located at: Edgefield (Troutdale), Cornelius Pass Roadhouse (Hillsboro), Kennedy School (Portland), Old St. Francis School (Bend), Crystal Hotel (Portland), Grand Lodge (Forest Grove), Hotel Oregon (McMinnville), Lighthouse Brewpub (Lincoln City), North Bank (Eugene), Old Church Brewery & Pub (Wilsonville), Gearhart Hotel & Sand Trap Pub and Roseburg Station Pub & Brewery.

Link for gift pack information: http://www.mcmenamins.com/HolidayGiftPacks

Link for retail locations where gift packs can be purchased: http://www.mcmenamins.com/1993-where-to-buy-mcmenamins-spirits

Lesher's Beerd Balm

Got a beard? Do you groom it, or do you just let it grow all crazy wild like a Neanderthal? Me? I'm not very fond of having fly away frizzies on my face--Mrs. BeerGuyPDX doesn't care for that look either. Of course, I don't like lady-scented cosmetics. I prefer to smell like a manly man among men. What to do?

Enter hops scented beard balm! Awesome!

Lesher's Beerd Balm is handmade to order from grapeseed oil, hops, shea butter, coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil, argan oil, beeswax, and vitamin E in Cleveland, Ohio. A 1.6 oz. tin will set you back $15.99.

I love this stuff! It tames my beard and leaves behind a pleasant, grassy hops aroma. Lesher will ship worldwide and you can order online at their Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BeerdedBeardCo

GrowlerWerks uKeg

Portland enjoys some of the most liberal growler fill rules in the nation. Basically, you can walk into any willing taproom, growler fill station, or even a few, select Fred Meyer stores and fill your clean, lidded container with beer. The problem I always have is that once I pop the top off a 64 oz. growler, I have trouble drinking the whole thing before the beer goes flat. That's usually within just a few hours. Man, I hate wasting good beer! What to do? What to do?

Enter the uKeg by GrowlerWerks. This steampunk looking piece of functional artwork can be loaded with a food grade CO2 cartridge--like the ones they use in whipped cream dispensers. The CO2 keeps out the air and the beer remains fresh for days and days! The uKeg comes in 64 oz and 128 oz sizes.

The uKeg also comes complete with a mini tap handle and a pressure gauge. A visual sight glass shows you how much beer is left inside the growler. Hey, isn't it the most badass beer accessory you've ever seen? You can reserve one for yourself through GrowlerWerks incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. They started out on Oct 15th with a goal of $75,000, which was reached the first day! They currently have pledges in excess of $500,000.


Beer Charm Bead

Hey, if the lady in your life loves craft beer AND she has a charm bracelet, how about getting her one of these cools beer charms from ThinkGeek.

The price is a mere $19.99 and it fits all major brands of bracelet (inc. PANDORA, Chamilia, Biagi, Troll)



Battle Mug

Do you have $223.99 burning a hole in your pocket? Would you like to drink your beer from one of the most outrageously expensive mugs EVER?

This bad boy is perhaps the most advanced piece of drinking hardware ever created. Here's the specs:

  • The most badass mug ever created
  • Made in the USA of solid 6061 T6 billet aluminum
  • M1913 rail interface system to mount your beer goggles
  • Includes a standard issue M4 carry handle
  • Individually serialized and limited edition
The Battle Mug is engrave-able and probably completely indestructable--unless you put it in the dishwasher. Ha!

Order your testosterone laden beer lover his or her very own Battle Mug from among the wide array of amazing, geeked out gifts at ThinkGeek: http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/edfc/?srp=39

Well, that's it for now. Keep an eye out for Beer Guy PDX's Holiday Gift Guide - 2014, Part Two. Finally, I must again say that most of the images contained in this post were reproduced by direct link without any permission from anyone. If the owners of these images want me to unlink them, just say the word and I'll yank 'em. Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Deschutes Brewery - Jubelale Winter Ale

Getting warm with a winter warmer.
Yup, it's yet another winter warmer that I'm reviewing tonight. It's dark and wet and rainy and cold--I'm just going to give it up and admit that the holiday season is here. Thanksgiving is just a few days away and then it will be Christmas before you can shout Kris Kringle!

Hey, here's something going completely off the rails. Ever hear of the Stumptown SantaCon? It's a free event that will take place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park on December 20th. Basically, hundreds of people show up dressed in Santa suits and other holiday garb and...I don't know what they do next, but I'm going to find out! Looks like fun! I'm planning a very "special" Santa outfit. Stay tuned!

Sorry about that little transgression. Back to the beer! Tonight's brew is Deschutes Brewery's Jubelale. It's categorized as a "strong ale". This winter warmer comes in at a relatively modest 6.7% ABV. It was brewed with a bunch of malt: Pale, Crystal, Extra Special, Carapils, and Roasted Barley. A load of hops, too: Nugget, Cascade, Willamette, Styrian, Tettnang and East Kent Goldings. This seasonal beer has made an appearance for several years and has quite a loyal following. How was it? Thought you'd never ask.

The beer poured into my glass a dark, reddish amber color with an off-white head. The head made its way up to almost an inch tall and dissipated at a moderate rate. A good amount of sudsy lacing was left behind.

Aroma was sweet malt, overripe fruit, toffee and caramel. A bit of an herbal, grassy, floral smell in the background. Some light citrus hops in the mix, as well.

Taste was toffee, cocoa, ripe cherries and abundant, earthy malt. Bready, almost fruitcake-like flavor lingering after every sip. A light citrus zing at the end. 

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Smooth finish. Not particularly boozy, but I did get a just a hint of alcohol.

Overall, this is a nice, unoffensive, flavorful holiday beer. It would be an appropriate beer to drink with Thanksgiving dinner and while sitting around the fireplace afterward. I'm giving Jubelale a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.