Saturday, November 28, 2015

Hoplandia Bottleshop and Taphouse Now Open in St. Johns

Hoplandia: More beer for St. Johns!
It was my pleasure to drop in on the newest Portland taproom, Hoplandia, for their opening on Wednesday. Hoplandia is located in the St. Johns neighborhood at 8600 N. Ivanhoe Street. It's on the ground floor corner of that brand new building--you know the one I'm talking about--the one that now sits like a sentinel at the entrance of the beautiful St. Johns Bridge. (St. Johns Bridge is my favorite span of the Willamette. What an awesome bridge!)

Hoplandia is the vision of owners Bruce and Alana McClain. They've certainly put in a great deal of hard work and effort to make their publican dreams come true; and they had more than a few delays and setbacks, which shouldn't be surprising to anyone who has ever gotten a new business off the ground. What nice people and they've created the kind of friendly, inviting environment that will keep me coming back. (I already went back today!)

I was also glad to see Phil Beers behind the bar, manning the taps. Phil was one of the first craft beer people I ever met at a Portland bottle share event. (Ha, an "event" back then consisted on five guys hunkered around a rainy picnic table in front of a closed brewpub.) Phil's craft beer knowledge is unparalleled, so I expect Hoplandia will always have an eclectic and sophisticated selection of beer on tap and in the cold case.

I counted eight beers, two ciders and five wines on tap. A big screen displays the selections behind the bar. Russian River Supplication, pFriem Lager, Barley Brown's Pallet Jack and Boneyard RPM were among the superstar brews on tap when I was there on Wednesday.

There are two beautiful HD TV screens mounted on the wall. Perfect for watching sports. I could see all the football action without my glasses on today, and that's impressive! There are seats at the coppertop bar and a number of tall tables and stools in the center of the clean, open space. A few low tables on the perimeter. One wall contains the cold case, where I found a small but exceptional selection of rarities. I left with a bottle of Block 15 Brewing's Super Nebula. Nice!

No food is served at Hoplandia, but they don't mind if you bring in something from one of the surrounding restaurants. There's a Burgerville right across the street. Mmmmm, Burgerville...

I'm having a serious case of neighborhood taproom envy, St. Johns. If I could, I'd steal Hoplandia from you and install it in my own Alberta Street 'hood. Great place and I look forward to stopping in whenever I'm in St. Johns.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

2015 Beer Guy PDX Holiday Gift Guide - Black Friday Edition

Tomorrow is Black Friday, or as I like to call it, Blech Friday. Honestly, I just can't imagine the appeal of hitting a crowded mall or big-box store with a massive throng of other idiots at Freeze-Your-Ass-Off o'clock. My Lord, it's like a scene out of The Walking Dead, except these particular zombies aren't after brains--though they should be--they're after holiday sale deals, and they'll do anything to bring home the goods. I'm telling you, no flippin' way am I getting between a desperate housewife and that last Xbox One Gears of War Bundle at Wal-Mart tomorrow. Oh, no, no, no. If you're feeling the same kind of anti-social sense of self-preservation, I've got some Blech Friday, beer-related gift ideas for you.

(image snagged from Zazzle.com)
How about a watch that looks like it's filled with sweet, sudsy beer? I know, right? I would love to have this vintage, black leather strap watch in my collection. It could be my dressy, dust off the gray suit watch. I would stare at it longingly during long business meetings, dreaming about a faraway happy hour...sigh.

I'm betting your own Beer-loved would light up with glee and holler "Ooooo, FANCY!" upon finding this amazing timepiece tastefully wrapped and awaiting him/her under the Christmas tree.

The Funny Beer Bubbles Wristwatch (yes, that's what they call it) is available in a number of other styles. The price of this particular model is $49.45 at Zazzle. Click HERE for details.

(image courtesy of
McMenamins)
Everybody knows that McMenamins is an original name in Oregon craft beer, but did you know that they also make some mighty fine craft spirits? Yup, McMenamins has been distilling spirits for many years and they have just the stuff your Beer-loved might need to spike the ol' eggnog or add a shot of something to chase down his/her favorite beer.

Through December 31, 2015, Holiday Distillery Gift Packs are available, while supplies last, at McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop, The Market at Anderson School and 11 McMenamins gift shops located at: Edgefield (Troutdale), Cornelius Pass Roadhouse (Hillsboro), Kennedy School (Portland), Old St. Francis School (Bend), Old Church Brewery & Pub (Wilsonville), Grand Lodge (Forest Grove), North Bank (Eugene), Roseburg Station Pub & Brewery (Roseburg), Hotel Oregon (McMinnville), Lighthouse Brewpub (Lincoln City) and Gearhart Hotel & Sand Trap Pub (Gearhart).

There are two holiday distillery gift packs to choose from:

Whiskey Trio Gift Pack - $50.00
Flask Sized Bottles of:
• Billy Whiskey
• Hogshead Whiskey
• Monkey Puzzle
• Custom keepsake shot glass
• Cocktail Recipes
• Gift box

Spirit of the Harvest Gift Pack - $45.00
• 1 Bottle of Aval Pota
• 1 Bottle of Phil Hazelnut Liqueur
• Custom keepsake Irish coffee mug
• Cinnamon sticks
• Holiday cocktail recipes
• Gift box

McMenamins has beer and wine gift packs, too! Click HERE for more information.

(image linked from
Hopworks website)
Your beer-loving Beer-loved probably has a closet filled with brewery t-shirts. Seriously, how much beer gear can one person have? 

NEVER ENOUGH! THAT'S HOW MUCH! NEVER! EVER! ENOUGH!

Now that we have that straightened out, Let me point you in the direction of some very cool beer gear that says Portland stylin' like no other. I'm talking about HUB, aka Hopworks Urban Brewery.

In addition to some very sharp-looking wearable gear, HUB has decorative metal signs, tap handles, and premium logo glassware. I have my eye on the HUB Belgian Chalice. I want!

Check out the entire collection of HUB goods and gear by clicking HERE.

(image link from
Amazon)
Is your Beer-loved a lil' stinker? Looking for a way to gently suggest some...improved grooming habits? How about some beer soap? Soap made from beer! Heck! I would take two or three showers a day!

The Set of 3 Craft Beer Soaps with Beer Themed Gift Bag, comes with three assorted round bars of beer soap - each containing a different craft beer. You will receive one each of the following soaps: Porter, IPA and Oatmeal Stout. Reusable festive gift pouch with drawstring closure is handmade in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Each soap measures approximately 4" in diameter. Each bar weighs approximately 4.0 oz.

This sweet-smelling gift is available at Amazon for $29.99 with free shipping for Prime member. Click HERE for more info.

(image link snagged from
Amazon)
I don't know about you, but if I could pop open an ice cold beer with my phone, I probably would. If my phone could also double as a cigarette lighter or easily attach to a camera tripod, too? Holy, moly McGuyver! What will they think of next?

Okay, get ready, this one is a mouthfull: The AnyShock Multi-tool Cigarette Lighter/ Beer Bottle Opener/ Camera Stable Tripod Shockproof Defender Case Cover for iPhone 5/ 5S (Phew!) is on sale right now at Amazon for $14.99, with free shipping for Prime members.

(Just a side note: I have really gotten my money's worth out of my Amazon Prime membership over the years. I get free two-day shipping, Prime Video, Prime Music, the Kindle Lending Library and Prime Photos. The price is going up to $99 when my subscription expires next year, but it's still a good deal.)

For ordering information on the AnyShock Mult-tool Defender Case, click HERE.

Okay, that's it for tonight. Go forth and shop tomorrow, if that's your thing. I'll toast your success from the safety of my barstool.

For more holiday gift ideas check my 2015 Beer Guy PDX Holiday Gift Guide, Part One and Part Two.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lompoc Brewing Announces Its Annual Holiday Beer Extravaganza...


(graphic courtesy of Lompoc Brewing)
...Releases Eight Holiday Beers Including Portland’s Original Hanukkah Seasonal

(PRESS RELEASE)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Just as Santa has eight reindeer, so does Lompoc have eight different holiday beers, including one brewed for Hanukkah. The annual Lompoc Holiday Beer Extravaganza will celebrate the release of them all on Monday, November 30th, from 4 to 11PM at Sidebar, Lompoc’s barrel tasting room at 3901 N Williams Ave.

This year's lineup of holiday seasonals includes 8 Malty Nights, Blitzen, Brewdolph, C-Sons Greetings, Cherry Christmas, Jolly Bock, Old Tavern Rat and Whores & Amateurs. A detailed description of each beer is provided below.

All beers will be available at the four other Lompoc pubs beginning Dec. 2, including Lompoc Tavern on NW 23rd Ave, Oaks Bottom Public House on SE Bybee Blvd, Hedge House on SE Division St, and Fifth Quadrant on N Failing and Williams. C-sons Greetings is also available in 22 ounce bottles.

Oregon Live recently did a blind taste test of 20 Oregon-brewed winter beers, and the top pick was C-Son’s Greetings. According to the posting, the panel found the beer “reasonably hearty and able to stand up to winter’s chill without burning too hot with spruce, pine and dried fruit characteristics.” Another voter noted, “It’s like an IPA and a winter ale had a baby.”

About Lompoc Brewing

A long-time Portland craft beer fixture established in 1996, Lompoc (pronounced Lom-Pock, not Lom-Poke) creates seven flavorful year-round beers, plus a ridiculous number of seasonals. You can find Lompoc in 22 oz bottles and on draft at locations in Oregon and Washington, and at its five Portland neighborhood pubs: Fifth Quadrant and Sidebar in North Portland, Hedge House and Oaks Bottom in Southeast, and the Lompoc Tavern in Northwest. For more information, call 503-288-3996 or visit www.lompocbrewing.com and @LompocBeer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Drink Local, Drink Lompoc!

BEER DESCRIPTIONS

8 MALTY NIGHTS: Dark brown in color and lightly hopped with English style hops, this chocolate rye beer features a roasted chocolate flavor and a sweet finish. Raise a glass and toast l’chaim to Portland’s first Hanukkah seasonal. 6.5% ABV

BLITZEN: A bright straw colored holiday favorite, Blitzen is dry-hopped with Centennial hops, dried lemon peel and coriander. The hops and lemon peel combine for a citrusy aroma and flavor while the coriander gives a slight spice at the back end. 4.6% ABV

BREWDOLPH: This Belgian style red ale features a malty and creamy body. Brewed with the Belgian Ardennes yeast strain, it boasts a mild fruitiness and a spicy clove character. 7.7% ABV

C-SONS GREETINGS: Brewed and dry-hopped with all seven “C” hops, this beer features a deep copper color with a piney, citrusy, floral and resinous aroma. A rich, caramel malt finish and an endless developing hop presence complement its full hop flavor. 8.0% ABV

CHERRY CHRISTMAS: This red ale was aged for two years in Maryhill Winery Merlot barrels on 45 pounds of sour cherries. It has a malty body, a strong oak aroma with hints of cherries, and finishes tart. 6.2% ABV

JOLLY BOCK: This lager was brewed with a generous amount of Munich malt to develop the deep amber color and rich malt flavor. The malty flavor is balanced with a spicy hop bitterness. 7.3% ABV

OLD TAVERN RAT: This dark amber-colored barleywine was aged for almost a year prior to its release. It has a strong bitterness that is balanced by the sweetness of caramel and toffee flavors. 9.4% ABV

WHORES & AMATEURS: Aged in bourbon barrels for six months, this beer is not for the faint of heart. Brownish red in color, this winter warmer has a big malt presence with notes of oak, raisins, toffee and coffee. Ladies of the night and rookies should steer clear of this awesome beer. 6.5% ABV

Baerlic Brewing Co. Releases WoodWorker Iniquitous Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout

(graphic courtesy of
Baerlic Brewing, Co.)
(PRESS RELEASE)

PORTLAND, OREGON - Friday, December 4th at 2pm Baerlic Brewing Co. releases the newest beer in their WoodWorker barrel-aged bottle series, Woodworker Iniquitous Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout.

The Woodworker Iniquitous Imperial Stout weighs in at 8.5% ABV. This devilishly drinkable imperial stout bursts at the seams with bitter chocolate, bourbon spice and vanilla and finishes rich, roasty and dry.

Taproom Bottle Release Party

A taproom bottle release party will be on Friday, December 4th starting at 2 p.m. This party will include a special tapping of the WoodWorker Iniquitous at Baerlic’s Southeast Portland Taproom is located at 2235 SE 11th Ave.

Bottle and Draft Sales

A limited run of 500 ml bottles that are hand bottled, wax-dipped will go on sale for $12 each at 2 p.m. on Friday Dec 4th. Customers can purchase bottles to go with a 3 bottle limit per person. Woodworker Iniquitous Imperial Stout will also be available on draft.

The Beer Here is Near & Dear

Woodworker Iniquitous Imperial Stout is the Kentucky Bourbon barrel-aged version of Baerlic’s Iniquitous Imperial Stout – an amped-up version of the brewery’s year-round Noble Oatmeal Stout. The name, which means “grossly unfair and morally wrong,” refers to the fact that “It’s just not right that so much epic flavor should be packed into just one beer,” says brewery co-owner Ben Parsons.“ Adding six months aging in Elijah Craig Bourbon barrels, definitely pushes it deep into the dark side,” adds co-owner Rik Hall.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hollywood Beverage Filling Crowlers in NE PDX

Heretic Brewing's Evil Cousin
poured from a crowler
I know what you're thinking: "A crowler? What in the Sam-frickety-Hill is a crowler?"

That's what I thought, too. Perhaps a creepy devotee of creepy 20th Century occultist, Aleister Crowley? Hmmm...that would certainly be interesting, but that's not it. Thank the Great God Horus for Google! I was able to find out that a crowler is an aluminum can that is filled individually, like a growler at a taproom or fill station, using a special machine designed and created by Dixie Canner Co. Read all about this coolest piece of equipment by clicking HERE.

When I read on Facebook that my favorite liquor store slash craft beer emporium, Hollywood Beverage had just installed a crowler machine, I had to make a special trip over there to see for myself.

I ordered a 32 ounce crowler of Heretic Brewing Company's Evil Cousin Imperial IPA from the lovely tap selection at Hollywood Beverage. The beertender filled up the can and sealed that puppy up for me in a matter of minutes. Way cool!

What I truly appreciate about a crowler is that it provides yet another option for craft beer lovers to enjoy fresh from the tap beer at home, camping, picnicking, wherever. Note that I paid an extra $1.35 for the can, but that's a price worth paying to a beer-toting vessel that keeps out all taste-destroying sunlight and carbonation-wrecking oxygen. 

The crowler machine in action...
Unlike a glass growler, the aluminum can crowler can keep the beer inside nice and fresh for days, until it is opened. Pfffffff! Even left unopened, a traditional glass growler will only keep beer appropriately fresh for 24 hours in the fridge. I've wasted a lot of fine craft beer that way.

The cans are 100% recyclable and far easier to transport than a glass container. Aluminum cans are also easier to transport and chill much faster than glass.

I anticipate you will soon find a large number of crowlers hanging out in my fridge. It should be relatively easy to mark the contents on the side of the can with a grease pencil. I'm surprised nobody came up with this idea a long time ago.

You'll find Hollywood Beverage at 3028 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR 97321. HERE IS a link to their current tap list.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

2015 Beer Guy PDX Holiday Gift Guide, Part Two

It's a beautiful, crisp, sunny day in Portland. I just finished cleaning the remnants of my 2015 hops bines off my deck. That was a gooey, soggy mess. What to do next? I know! I'll finish my Christmas shopping! Presenting part dos of my anxiously anticipated, always appreciated Holiday Gift Guide. If you have a beer lover in your haus, I done did all the gift hunting for you. Hey, it's what I do. You're welcome!

(photo snagged from Bambeco.com)
First up, I found a very cool beer flight set from Bambeco. This stylish set of five flight glasses and taster tray is made entirely from recycled materials. The glasses are made from reclaimed wine cooler bottles and the tray is a repurposed wine barrel stave. The result is a unique and elegant flight that will impress your guests for years to come.

Portland 5 Beer Flight - Clear is priced very reasonably at $55, considering that each set is handmade right here in the U.S. of A. Click HERE for ordering information.

(photo linked from Portland
Growler Co.)
While we're on the subject of gift items handmade in the U.S. of A., here's one handcrafted right here in the best damn beer burg in the world, Portland, Oregon! Behold the latest from Portland Growler Company. These ceramic growlers are awesome. They come in a variety of styles and colors, but the gloss red is totally new and even more awesomer. (Man, I'm making my grammar checker freak out today!) 

I'm thinking there may be one or two beer-lovin' ladies out there who would LOVE to own a growler that matches her lipstick. My wife says these jugs provide a stylish panache that you don't typically find in a beer receptacle. It's a growler AND a fashion accessory! 

The gloss red growlers cost a little more because the glaze requires the precious metal cadmium to get that bright red color. I've seen these in person at a recent beer festival, and they are about a red as red can get. What a beautiful piece of pottery. You should own one...

The Loop / Gloss Red / 64 oz. Growler costs $79.00. Click HERE for more info.

(photo link snatched from
Gigantic Brewing)
Okay, it looks like I'm sticking close to home with my Christmas shopping this year. I've got another Portland-grown gift idea for you. How about a little label art to adorn the walls of your Beer-loved's man or lady cave?

Portland's Gigantic Brewing Company puts out some mighty fine beers, but their label art is amazing, too. Lucky you! They sell both!

Gigantic's labels are all designed by different artists. The artists are given complete artist freedom, which has resulted in some of the most amazing label art ever created. I'll admit it, whenever Gigantic puts out a new beer, I'm almost as excited to see what's on the outside of the bottle as I am to drink what's on the inside.

16 X 20 inch, high quality posters are available of a large number of label designs. They cost $60 each. Click HERE to check them all out.

(photo link from Things Remembered)
Wouldn't be cool if your Beer-loved could drink a beer out of a glass engraved with his/her very own, personal beer motto? You know, something like:

BAD ASS 
BEER DRINKING 
MOFO

Whoa! How awesome would that be? I just got chills imagining it.

Well, you don't have to imagine it, Janet! You can get a set for four Spiegelau craft beer glasses, all engraved with whatever you want: name, initials, or previously aforementioned beer motto.

The set comes with the Spiegelau IPA glass, a stemmed glass, a pilsner glass and a hefe glass. That should cover just about all of your gift recipient's craft beer vessel needs. The price is $55, plus the cost for personalization of EACH glass, so this gift can be a bit Spendy McSpenderson, if you lack an economy of words. Still, it's a pretty cool gift.

The Personalized Spiegelau Craft Beer Tasting Kit is available from Things Remembered. Click HERE for ordering information.

(image snagged from Amazon)
I'm going to brag a little bit here. Sorry. Gotta do it. Given my consistent butchery of the English language in this little ol' beer blog, you would probably be surprised to hear that my son--the fruit my lions, the off of my spring--was recently appointed the newest Associate Professor of English at his mother's alma mater. How cool is that? I'm such a proud papa.

I was also quite touched when my boy told me that his appreciation for literature began when I would tuck him into bed each night and read him a bedtime story. That brought a little tear to my eye, especially considering that those stories were not always...let's just say "age appropriate" and leave it there.

I have no doubt that if the children's book parody Goodnight Brew had been around when my son was two, it would have been a regular in the bedtime story line-up. Hey! I have two granddaughters! I'm ordering this one ASAP!

Goodnight Brew is available in hardcover at Amazon for $12.58. Shipping is free with Amazon Prime. Click HERE to order.

Finally, a couple of stocking stuffers:

(image from
Amazon)
Even at age 50-zillion, I still like to find my stocking stuffed full of tasty goodies on Christmas morning. Hey! Here's a tip for you youngsters: don't forget about ol' pop's stocking! He's probably the guy who stuffed himself into that moth-eaten Santa suit every year, just to give you some extra holiday delights. He might not say anything, but if he wanders out into the living room on X-mas morn and finds that sock dangling there on the mantle limp and empty, his crusty heart will be breaking on the inside. On the INSIDE!

Feeling guilty, yet, you little bast*rds? Yeah, I hope so. Try to rectify your ungrateful oversights of Christmas Past and get your dad something for his stocking. You can start with these beer-flavored jelly beans! Honestly, that sounds just awful. Ack! But, in this situation, it really is the thought that counts.

A 1.75 ounce, beer can tin of Jelly Belly Draft Beer jelly beans sells for $10.03 on Amazon, with free shipping. Click HERE to order.

(image snagged from High Hoppage)
Stickers! What self-respecting beer lover doesn't want to cover every square inch of his/her bumper with beer stickers? Heck, I'd cover the fridge with stickers, if Mrs. BeerGuyPDX would allow it...but she won't. Something about not wanting to live in a frat house...blah, blah, blah...

These cool oval stickers are available at High Hoppage for only two bucks each. Yes, you will find the HOP and the IPA stickers decorating that rear windshield of the BeerGuyPDX mobile--right next to the Cascadian flag.

Click HERE to order the stickers and peruse some of the other unique beer-related items at High Hoppage.

Check out the gift items on my 2015 Beer Guy PDX Holiday Gift Guide, Part One.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

McMenamins Breweries - Kris Kringle Traditional Yuletide Ale 2015

'Tis the seasonal...
The holiday season is always a special time of year, but it is absolutely awesome in Portland, Oregon. Why? Well, if you know anything about me, you know that it's all about the beer. Oregon craft beer lovers absolutely revel in the releases of a multitude of highly anticipated seasonal, winter/holiday brews. There are so many! Quite a few are showcased at my favorite beer festival of all time: The Holiday Ale Fest. Oh, I can't wait!

One tasty, tasty holiday brew that I'm always anxious the get my lips on makes its appearance with very little fanfare. It's also available for a very limited time. I'm talking about McMenamins Breweries' Kris Kringle Traditional Yuletide Ale. This beer is only available at McMenamins locations from November 13th through December 25th. That's a mighty short window to get a pint of a dang delicious beer.

Here's what the McMenamins website says about the Kringle:


Just in time for the holidays, November 13th marks the release of this year’s McMenamins Traditional Yuletide Ale, Kris Kringle. The busy-as-elves McMenamins brewers have created another wonderful gift for your taste buds this holiday season. The 2015 version of Kris Kringle is a hearty and robust ale with a big and bold malt complexity as well as an intense and flavorful hop profile. This “winter warmer” highlights the rich, toasty, aromatic and chocolaty malt flavors as its very sturdy foundation. Generous amounts of two different hop varieties were added in five different additions, which delivers a magnificent and massive hop assault. There’s still some ginger and cinnamon added into the batch but the spices are a little more subdued than in years’ past. McMenamins brewers hope you enjoy this years’ version of our old Holiday favorite, Kris Kringle. Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year! 
Malts: Pale Ale, Munich, Wheat, 15L & 120L Crystal, Chocolate Hops: Centennial, Cascade 
OG: 1.068 TG: 1.015 ABV: 6.84% IBU: 76 SRM: 15
Buzz Words: Robust, Hoppy, Festive
I must say that the 2015 version of Kris Kringle is  probably the best I can remember. Delicious. I'm absolutely getting a growler fill of this brew before Christmas. You should, too! I'm giving the 2015 version of Kris Kringle a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Cider Riot! Releases Rudy’s Cranberry Hibiscus Cider Cocktail

(photo courtesy of
Cider Riot!)
(PRESS RELEASE)

The latest in the Action Growler™ 2-Liter series from Cider Riot!® Rudy’s Cranberry Hibiscus Cider Cocktail brings together cold-pressed cranberry juice from Starvation Alley cranberry farms, NW apples, and certified organic hibiscus flowers.

Intense fruity hibiscus aromas and flavors lead into an off-dry mid palate, while tannins from the hibiscus flowers give Rudy’s a medium full mouthfeel with a tart refreshing finish from the cranberry juice.

The Action Growler™ allows you to take Rudy’s sledding, or snowshoeing without fear of breaking glass, it’s also practical for sharing and makes a perfect holiday gift.

Rudy’s pairs well with cheese plates, merriment, and festive affairs. We invite you to don your most festive cardigan, drop the needle on the hifi and crack open a frosty flagon of our Rudy’s Cranberry Hibiscus Cocktail. Pick it up at your local bottleshop or greengrocer today.

Cider Riot! is located in Portland’s North Tabor Neighborhood and is dedicated to producing flavorful, refreshing, dry ciders.

For more information about Cider Riot!, Action Growlers, or Rudy’s Cranberry Hibiscus Cider contact Abram Goldman-Armstrong 503-662-8275, ciderriot@gmail.com.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

2015 Beer Guy PDX Holiday Gift Guide, Part One

Is it really that time of year AGAIN? I honestly can't believe Christmas is only 42 days away. Why, it seems like just yesterday when I was taking down the crispy, brown Christmas tree and dragging it back to the alley under the cover of darkness... ahem... that is, I mean, I was carefully cutting up the Christmas tree and disposing of it properly in my official City of Portland green waste receptacle. Wait, it was just yesterday...

Yes, Christmas is right around the corner, so it's time to start posting my annual Beer Guy PDX Holiday Gift Guide. I do all the legwork--or in this case, fingerwork--so you can easily provide your beer-lovin', special someone with the perfect, beer-related Christmas gift. You're welcome!

Let's get this X-Mas party started!

(photo snagged from Amazon)
Just imagine your Beer-loved wakes up on Christmas morn to find a bottle of his/her favorite beer boxed up under the ol' Tannenbaum. (Hopefully, it's NOT a bottle of Bud, as pictured on the left.) Now, imagine further that the package is not an ordinary box. Oh, no, that would be too easy, my friend. That box is a devilish PUZZLE that must be solved in order to obtain the delicious brew (not Bud) inside!

Oh, the humanity! Oh, the hilarity!

The Beer Bottle Puzzle is available at Amazon for only $19.95, and shipping is free for Prime members.

Click HERE for details.

TIP: You probably wouldn't want to give your Beer-loved this gift and a set of power tools at the same time. I'm just sayin'.

(photo snagged from
Mancrates.com)
It's my personal opinion that a beer lover can never have too many growlers. It also happens to be my wife's opinion that I have WAY too many growlers. Okay, I will admit that she probably has a point and I should pare my collection down a bit before I even think about getting another one, but DANG if I didn't find an awesomely cool mini-keg growler that I must own!

Man Crates believes men deserve better gifts and they've put together a sweet collection of gift packages with all kinds of themes and personalization options. Of course, some of those are beer-related and my favorite is the Personalized Growler Crate. Awesome!

The crate comes with a cool 64 oz. mini-keg growler that can be personalized with the gift recipient's name. The label is black chalkboard paint so you can denote the keg's current contents. How nifty is that? The crate also comes with said chalk, two enamel pint glasses, beer nuts, peanuts and the 33 Bottles of Beer book. The whole thing comes packaged in a wooden crate with a laser-etched crowbar.

The Personalized Growler Crate is $74.99 and can be ordered HERE.

(photo link from
Amazon.com)
Did you know that beer saved the world? It did, but if you don't want to just take my word for it, you can see for yourself by watching one of my favorite beer documentaries: How Beer Saved the World.

This entertaining and educational DVD should be in the collection of every beer aficionado worth his/her salt--or suds, as the case may be here. By watching this Discovery Channel documentary, your Beer-loved will be able to succinctly and eruditely explain how the discovery of brewing led directly to the birth of civilization. They'll know the important part beer played in the building of the Egyptian Pyramids. They'll understand the impact beer has had on world history. Basically, he/she will be an annoying beer smarty-pants, but it will be worth it.

How Beer Saved the World is available on DVD from Amazon for only $9.87, with free shipping for Prime members. Click HERE to order.

(photo snagged from ThinkGeek)
You know, the Holiday Season just wouldn't be the same without tentacles. That's what we always say around the Linderman house, anyway. We just love us some thick, muscular, sucker-embued, holiday tentacles.

Personally, I prefer Cthulhu tentacles over Kraken tentacles any day of the year, but you can't have everything. Hey, if you have a beer-loving, tentacle-loving weirdo living in your house, I have a GREAT gift idea for you!

ThinkGeek is offering a set of four Tentacle Pint Glasses for the low, low price of $19.95. Okay, that's not really "low, low" but the design is pretty cool. You can order a set by clicking HERE.

(photo link taken from
Bits and Pieces)
There's been a lot of stuff floating around on the interwebs about hammers lately--what with a Presidential candidate claiming he went all wacky and attacky on his mama with one. I'm not so sure I'm buying what that guy is selling, but I do know that there should always be room in any well-appointed toolbox for a brand new hammer. And if that hammer should also come equipped with a BOTTLE OPENER? Well, that's just icing on the cake!

This nifty Hammer Bottle Opener is currently on sale at the Bits and Pieces website for only $5.39! Deal! Check it out HERE.

(photo from Webstaurant.com)
How many times has this happened to you? Your Beer-loved gets a new craft beer that he/she wants to share with friends, uncaps the growler and then you get stuck searching for suitable taster glasses. Somebody ends up with a jelly glass. Somebody else gets the Las Vegas shot glass. A couple of folks have whiskey glasses. Maybe a Dixie cup tossed in there for good measure. Not very impressive for somebody who is supposed to be "all about the beer" there, Maynard.

Wouldn't it be awesome to have a set of flight glasses, complete with serving paddle, just like the pros use in their brewery tasting rooms? Well, Webstaurant.com has just what your Beer-loved needs to impress his/her beer pals. The Anchor Hocking Craft Brews Beer Flight is a six glass set with a red brown wood paddle and sells for a very reasonable $21.99. What a great price!

Check it out HERE.

You'll find more beer-related gifts at my 2015 Beer Guy PDX Holiday Gift Guide, Part Two.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

McMenamins Opens New Bottle Shop on Portland’s NW 23rd Ave.

(photo courtesy of McMenamins)
799 BOTTLES OF CRAFT BEER, CIDER & SPARKLING WINE ON THE WALL

(PRESS RELEASE)

WHAT: Imagine Portland 38 years ago – before the craft beer explosion. That’s when Mike McMenamin purchased a local market in Raleigh Hills and began stocking the shelves with imported brews and fine wines. Dreaming of something more, he sold the Raleigh Hills Market, partnered with his brother Brian, and together they opened their first pub in 1983 – creating a community gathering space to enjoy a pint. Fast forward to present day and Portland looks a lot different, but the brothers are still at it – creating spaces in neighborhoods to enjoy beer, wine, spirits and ciders. Their newest venture is the 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop – featuring a combination of hand-crafted ales, cider, spirits and wine, and imported bottles from around the globe. It’s a new chapter for McMenamins and a valuable addition to the Northwest Portland community.

McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop will be home to:
· 800+ bottled craft beers, ciders, wines and spirits from McMenamins and around the world
· A special section of more than thirty-nine sparkling wines, ranging from $12.75 to $279 in price
· Weekly cocktail specials
· Monday and Thursday growler fill specials
· Food from Tavern and Pool next door
· 16 taps featuring McMenamins’ hand-crafted ales, hard ciders and rotating guest beers

Opening to the public on Nov. 19 – the 30th Birthday of McMenamins Terminator Stout – four variations of Terminator will be available on tap in the bottle shop, while supplies last. The variations include the original recipe, Billy Barrel Cherry Sour Terminator from Cornelius Pass Roadhouse Brewery, Spanish Coffee Terminator from Thompson Brewery and Black Rose Terminator from Edgefield Brewery. Wine, cider and spirits tastings will also be available throughout the weekend as part of the grand opening celebration.

Passport Stamps will be available at the bottle shop for McMenamins Passport holders, and on opening day guests can stop by for Terminator’s 30th Birthday Passport Discovery Hunt.

WHEN: Grand Opening: November 19, 2015
Regular Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

WHERE: McMenamins 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop
2290 NW Thurman
Portland, OR 97210


About McMenamins
McMenamins operates 53 distinctive pubs, restaurants and historic hotels in the Pacific Northwest. Founded by brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin with a single Portland neighborhood pub in 1983, McMenamins today includes eight Washington locations and 45 Oregon properties, 18 on the National Register of Historic Places. McMenamins handcrafts its own beer, wine, spirits, cider and coffee and offers an eclectic mix of pubs, hotels, movie theaters, concert venues, spas and events for guests to enjoy.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

BridgePort Brewing Company - Stumptown CandyPeel IPA

What's the a-peel?
Finally! It's rainy season in Stumptown! I thought the perpetually gray skies would never get here! Ah, but it's totally gloomy today, just how I like it! Perfect beer tasting weather, in my opinion.

Today, I'm drinking a very local brew: Stumptown CandyPeel IPA from Oregon's oldest craft brewery, BridgePort Brewing Company. The beer comes with an ABV of 6.5% and 65 IBU's. Here's what BridgePort's website had to say about this beer:

"The first in our Stumptown line, CandyPeel IPA experiments with Styrian Goldings hops to provide an impactful candy orange/citrus aroma and flavor. With a strong malt backbone, CandyPeel is a balanced beer that’s refreshing and delicious. CandyPeel IPA is a fresh twist to the IPA Style."

The beer poured into my IPA glass a slightly hazy, golden orange color with a foamy, white head. The head was more than an inch tall and dissipated at a moderate rate. Good retention. Clumps of frothy suds were left behind all over the inside of the glass.

Aroma was citrus hops, orange and lemon, with hints of apricot and pineapple in the background. Biscuity malt.

Taste followed the nose with orange and lemony hops and a good bitter bite of orange pith. Assertive malt flavor. Excellent hops/malt balance.

Medium mouthfeel with some lively carbonation. Semi-dry finish with the bitter citrus and biscuity malt flavors left behind on the palate at the end.

Overall, this is an easy drinking, flavorful IPA. I would probably really enjoy this beer on a hot day. It's an interestingly different hops profile. I like it! I'm giving Stumptown CandyPeel IPA a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Hopworks Urban Brewery - Motherland Russian Imperial Stout

In the People's Republic of
Portland, beer drinks YOU!
Happy International Stout Day! I find it interesting that this particular day of tasty beverage recognition falls almost exactly in line with my craving for some dark, roasty, big flavored beers. I didn't even know International Stout Day was on the calendar until a couple of days ago, but coincidentally, I've been stocking my fridge with some heavy hitters. Hey! I must be psychic! Actually, with the weather getting cooler and the days getting shorter, it's definitely stout season.

Today, in honor of this most celebrated occasion, I'm drinking a Russian Imperial Stout from Portland's own Hopworks Urban Brewery named Motherland. It comes with an ABV of 9.8% and the bomber set me back $8.50. 

The beer poured into my stout glass a near black color with a tan head. The head came up to a finger thick with a little coaxing and dissipated at a moderate rate. A residual ring and some spotty lacing were left behind after the head disappeared.

Aroma was cocoa, coffee and a bit of booze at first whiff. Ripe, dark cherries, anise and blackstrap molasses in the background.

Taste was slightly sweet molasses, roasted malt and dark chocolate. Licorice and dark, over-ripe fruit. There was no hiding the alcohol, but the booziness wasn't at all overpowering. 

Full, heavy mouthfeel. Sticky and chewy. Light carbonation. Appropriately bitter finish with roasted malt flavor and some alcohol warmth left behind at the end.

Overall, this is a solid RIS that delivers plenty of flavor and a good bang for the buck. I like it! I'm giving Motherland a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Gigantic Brewing Company - Superbad Imperial Coffee Stout

The watch, the wallet, the kangaroo
and the beer...
I'm a big fan of Pulp Fiction. I keep my watch on a Kangaroo just like Butch--what else can I say? See photo on the left. Yup, that's a genuine, 1950's McCoy dresser caddy, identical to the one featured in the classic Tarantino film. No, my wallet does NOT say Bad Mother F**ker on it--that would raise some eyebrows at the office--but otherwise, it would not be out of the question.

Gigantic Brewing Company keeps enticing me to buy their wonderful beers with pop culture references that seem directed specifically at me. What's next? A beer dedicated to the art of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth? How about a Rat Fink beer? Come on, Gigantic, I'm putting in my order right now!

Tonight, I'm drinking a bottle of Gigantic's Superbad Imperial Coffee Stout. I picked up the bomber at Hollywood Beverage for $7.50. There's a quote from Jules on the label:

"You mind if I have some of your tasty beverage to wash it down?"

I'm thinking, "Hell, no, Jules! Get your own damn tasty beverage! This b*tch is MINE!" Bang! Bam! Pow! RAT-A-TAT-TAT!

Superbad comes with an ABV of 9%. Did you ask me what it tastes like? Say what again! I dare you! I double dare you! Say what. One. More. Time!

The beer poured into my little stout glass an opaque, pitch black color with a thick, creamy, mocha head. The head rose up to a full finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. A full ring and thin, webby spots of lacing were left behind on the glass.

Aroma was roasted malt, espresso, and cocoa. Hints of licorice and dark, over-ripe fruit in the background.

Taste followed the nose. Coffee. Rich milk chocolate. A little smoky. Burnt caramel. Bitter finish that faded away, leaving that creamy mocha flavor behind. YES! This brew is superbad! Excellent! The flavors really popped as the beer warmed. Sip and savor this one. You will not be disappointed.

Medium to full mouthfeel. A bit of a chew to it. Appropriate carbonation.

Overall, this is a wonderful brew.  Fantastic. I'm giving Superbad a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4. The more I sip on this one, the more I love it. Robust and complex. I think Jules would approve.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hopworks Releases Organic Motherland Russian Imperial Stout

(photo courtesy of Hopworks)
(PRESS RELEASE)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) today announced the release of Motherland Russian Imperial Stout. Rich and smooth, Motherland is as black as a Siberian winter night but warming enough to weather it. Bittersweet chocolate flavors mingle with deep fig and plum fruitiness and it finishes with a lingering spiciness and heat. Available November through February, this winter warmer is a fortifying tonic for the People!

Motherland is part of Hopworks’ Imperial Series, which features rotating imperial ales throughout the year and is geared for lovers of slow-sipping, big, bold, and highly complex beers. This season drinkers will appreciate Motherland’s focus on a hearty organic malt bill that will warm your heart during cold, rainy and snow-filled evenings. The beer clocks in at 9.8% alcohol by volume and 63 IBUs.

Motherland is now available in 22 oz. bottles and on draught throughout the Pacific Northwest in bars, pubs, and stores. Motherland replaces GABF gold medal winning Organic Ace of Spades Imperial IPA in the Imperial series.

For more information, please visit Hopworks online at www.HopworksBeer.com or follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

About Hopworks Urban Brewery
Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) 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. HUB is proud to be a Certified B Corporation, gold level Bike Friendly Business, and the first Salmon-Safe certified brewing site in the world. In 2015 Hopworks expanded its range of sustainably-made offerings with HUB Hard Cider, Totally Radler, and Nonstop Hef Hop.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Gigantic Brewing Company - Slip Into Darkness

It's fhtagn good!
Not fair, not fair, Gigantic Brewing Company! You had me as soon as I saw the H.P. Lovecraft reference on your new brew, Slip Into Darkness. How could I NOT buy it? The label art presents the visage of an exceptionally hideous, other-worldly creature, and the following Lovecraft quote:


"The most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."


If you are not familiar with Howard Phillips (H.P.) Lovecraft, you are probably not a fan of horror fiction. Lovecraft is credited as being one of the most influential writers of that particular genre. He is the creator of the Cthulhu Mythos: a terrifying world filled with malevolent beings from another dimension; monstrous, alien, indescribable beings intent upon the destruction of all human life. His unique style combined nihilism with a sense of oppressive, cosmic doom, and brought him fame and the adoration of horror fiction aficionados around the world--although not until many years after his death. I'm a big Lovecraft fan. I've even tried my hand at writing some Lovecraft-inspired tales of my own. Click HERE, if you're at all interested in reading some of it.

Back to the beer! Slip Into Darkness is described on the label as a "hoppy Cascadian dark lager" and the ABV is reported at 6.4%. Interesting. A CDA-ish lager. I was very anxious to get this beer uncapped and into a glass. Honestly, Gigantic Brewing never disappoints me. Unique, masterful brews are produced by these folks on a regular basis. Let's see how this one checks out, shall we?

The beer poured from bomber into my skull mug (seemed appropriate) a cloudy, deep, dark brown color--almost black--with a foamy, tan head. The head rose up to a finger thick and displayed excellent retention. Thick, webby lacing was left behind.

Aroma was primarily citrus hops on the initial uptake with roasted malt bringing up the rear. 

Taste was a good dose of bitter pine and citrus hops up front. Orange. Burnt coffee and cocoa. A little smoky. Roasted malt. Toasted filberts. Delicious stuff! All kinds of flavor.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. A bit of a dry finish with hops bitterness and robust, roasted malt in a tug of war for attention at the end.

Overall, this is a damn tasty beer. I'd fight off a room full of tentacles to get my hands on another bomber of this brew. Merry the Wonder Beagle thought it smelled wonderful. She drooled up a puddle while I sipped and savored this one. I'm giving Slip Into Darkness a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie.