Sunday, January 31, 2016

Oakshire Brewing - Ride Your Bike Double Red Ale

I want to ride it where I like...
When I was a kid in the 60's and early 70's, the bicycle was THE essential piece of kid equipment. We didn't have fancy-dancy hoverboards or skateboards (that actually worked) or helicopter moms to drive us to the mall...heck, we didn't even have a mall

If you didn't have a bike, well, you were a kid loser. Remember, we didn't have cell phones and our parents rarely let us use the house phone. (Cue my mom voice: Who do you want to CALL? Someone in CHINA?) In order to have any kind of fun, a kid had to get on his/her bike and search the neighborhood for other kids to do stuff with--we called in "playing" back in the day. A two-wheeled mode of transportation was the fastest and easiest way to get from point A to point B. If you were on foot, you usually got left behind.

I was a helluva lucky kid. In 1969, my dad presented me and my twin brother with identical Schwinn Coppertone Stingrays. Dudes! My bike was the absolute height of status in all of Kiddom! We were the envy of the entire block. I totally tricked mine out with a tall sissy bar, a tiger-striped banana seat and a Batman license plate. I even got one of those bitchin' (that's how we talked in 1969) wheelie bars. Man, could I pop a MEAN wheelie! What the hell am I talking about, you ask? Check this out...




Bikes were absolutely NOT cool when I was in high school. Seriously. Only dweebs and total geeks rode bicycles in the late 70's. I traded that bike in for a muscle car and never looked back. Actually, I didn't literally trade it in. That poor, neglected bike rusted away in my parents garage for a decade or two. I'm pretty sure it was sold at a garage sale. Looking back, it was certainly a bit of a betrayal on my part, and I sure wish I had that Stringray back in my possession. I'd look mighty snazzy riding it up to New Seasons and back to fetch a sixer of fine craft beer.

The reason I'm waxing nostalgic for my trusty Stingray is the beer I picked up today. Oakshire Brewing's Ride Your Bike is a Double Red Ale. I picked up the bomber for $7.95 at Hollywood Beverage. Is it a bitchin' brew? Let's find out...

The beer poured from bomber into pint glass a deep amber color with a creamy, tan head. The head rose up to a full finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. Webby lacing and a clumpy cap of foam were left behind.

Aroma was citrus hops and earthy, biscuity malt up front. Hints of pine and some floral notes.

Taste delivered a PNW hops profile ASAP. Bitter grapefruit rind and resinous pine. Followed up right behind the hops bitterness was a rich, earthy, bready malt flavor. There was a lack of sweetness, but I found that to be the best thing about this red ale. The 8.6% ABV was apparent, delivering some noticeable hotness on the finish.

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Very easy to drink. Nothing cloying, of thick or heavy about this beer. I like it!

Overall, this is a damn nice beer! I don't often drink red or brown ales. I'm an IPA guy, primarily. Ride Your Bike delivers some big hops flavors that satisfied my big hops cravings. Good stuff, and I'm giving this beer a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Gigantic Brewing Company - Kiss the Goat Black Doppelbock

Could it be...SATAN?
I had a bad experience with a goat when I was a little kid. I was about five years old, growing up in Nebraska, and my parents brought me and my twin brother to our aunt's farm for a visit. Actually, it was pretty awesome. She had a pony (that she let us ride) and every kind of barnyard animal that a proper farm should have. 

I was having a pretty good time playing in the barnyard, chasing the ducks and petting the pony, until an ornery goat decided that my sweater looked positively delicious. That damn goat ate about four inches off the back of my sweater before my clueless parents realized that the loud shouts from the barnyard were screams of terror rather than peals of laughter.

I'll never forget the blank, malevolent eyes on that goat, and those sharp, stubby horns. I have no doubt that goats are the agents of pure evil sent to earth by dark forces to terrorize cute, innocent, tow-headed children; devouring their sweaters, and their souls. Man, I hate goats. *shudder*

Despite the lingering childhood trauma, I recently purchased a bomber of Gigantic Brewing Company's Kiss the Goat Black Doppelbock. Now, Gigantic Brewing usually comes up with some very interesting beer names and I have often sung the praises of their awesome label art. That said, I must point out that the theme of Kiss the Goat is rather...dark. Well, dark isn't really an accurate descriptor. SATANIC. There you go. The name and label art conjures up something pretty SATANIC. Here's a quote from the label:

"A doppelbock emblackened. Perfect for midnight masses, dancing naked in the moonlight, and malevolent altars. Turn up the Sons of Huns, toast the dark, now turn and kiss the goat!"

Okay, that's pretty damned creepy. Damned being the operative word. Let's see how Kiss the Goat tastes, shall we?

The beer poured from bomber to glass a deep, dark, mahogany color. The beer was fairly opaque, but reddish amber hues were evident when I held the glass up to the light. The mocha head rose up to a full finger thick and dissipated slowly. Clumps and sheets of creamy lacing remained in the glass throughout the entire drink. Truly a lovely brew upon presentation. Nice!

Aroma was toasted malt and cocoa up front. Hints of roasted filberts and dark fruit in the background.

Taste followed the nose. Toasted, biscuity malt. Chocolate and dark fruit. Cherry and dates. Roasted nuts. A hint of smokiness. Loads of delicious flavors rolling around in there--no goat. No hint of the 8% ABV, either.

Medium mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. Creamy finish with the substantial malt flavor left behind on the palate at the end. Smooth. No harsh.

Overall, this is an awesome beer. I really, really like it! Hey, I would say it's almost worth going to hell for it! I'm giving Kiss the Goat a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


Friday, January 29, 2016

BASE CAMP'S COLLABOFEST RETURNS SATURDAY, JANUARY 30TH

(PRESS RELEASE)

PORTLAND, January 12, 2016 – Base Camp Brewing Company is bringing together eighteen local breweries and cideries for their second annual Collabofest. A celebration of the collaborative spirit of Portland's craft brewing community, Base Camp's Collabofest gives attendees the opportunity to experience a unique offering from each participating brewery or cidery that was developed exclusively for the festival.

Base Camp's Collabofest is the only beer festival in the world that presents an all-collaborative brew lineup. Thanks to the involvement of key sponsors Country Malt Group, the Portland Mercury, and Travel Portland, Base Camp Brewing Co. was able to expand the event to include a greater number of partners in its second year.

“Yeah, there's an ever-growing number of makers in Portland,” says Base Camp co-founder Joseph Dallas, “and that makes it even more exciting to us that everyone, from early pioneers like Widmer to new neighbors like Culmination Brewing, still recognizes how awesome and worthwhile it is to work together.”

“Collabofest is a great representation of Portland’s collaborative spirit and provides a unique way for visitors to experience many of our city’s amazing breweries,” said Courtney Ries, director of marketing for Travel Portland. “We’re thrilled to see the festival grow this year to include cideries and add even more breweries to its impressive line-up.”

Each participating brewery or cidery were paired up via a lottery-style drawing in October 2015, and have developed their “collabobrews” to be debuted at the festival.

CLICK HERE for a list of the brewers and the beers.

With Collabofest, Base Camp further develops its close ties to the Pacific Northwest's outdoors and stewardship of Oregon's wild spaces. Their partnership with the Oregon Natural Desert Association and Oregon Wild will be in full effect at the festival, where each group will be in attendance and sharing the latest in their ongoing efforts throughout the state. Base Camp and Travel Portland are proud to provide financial support for the good work of both ONDA and Oregon Wild, the official nonprofit beneficiaries of Base Camp's Collabofest.

Join in on Collabofest on Saturday, January 30th at Base Camp's brewhouse and taproom in southeast Portland (930 SE Oak Street). To learn more about the festival, the participating breweries and cideries, and the event's collaborations, check out Base Camp's website and Facebook page or #PDXNOW on social media. Tickets are available now at http://www.merctickets.com/go/collabofest Additional support for Base Camp's Collabofest and Portland craft brewing proudly provided by sponsors KEEN Footwear, General Distributors, Inc., Klean Kanteen, Uber, Captuer Headwear, and Propel Insurance.

# # # The Base Camp Brewing Company family has been brewing innovative lagers and ales for the adventurous palate since 2012. To experience the latest from the frontier of craft beer, visit Base Camp at their brewhouse and taproom located in the heart of Portland, Oregon's brewery district, or look for their beers on tap, in the beer cooler, and on the trail.

Monday, January 25, 2016

PUT A HEAD ON IT!

Foam, sweet foam...
Living in Portland, the best damn beer city in the whole damn world, has spoiled me. I'm not a particularly persnickety individual, but I do have certain expectations when it comes to beer experiences in this burg. Okay, very high expectations, but I'm not alone. Even Portland's lowliest dive bars have fine, delicious, AWESOME, local craft beer on tap; and PDX beer consumers are generally quite serious about getting the best brew for their beer dollars.

With more than 50 breweries in Portland proper--and myriad top tier pubs and taprooms--I have many, many choices. There's a lot of competition for those greenbacks in my wallet, I'll tell you what. Real estate may be a seller's market in Stumptown right now, but when it comes to beer, the buyer is still king. I expect top quality because that's what I usually get. Like I said, I'm spoiled.

I visited a large, very popular brewpub in The Pearl District on Saturday. I have to admit that it was my second choice. The vibe is kind of corporate; kind of chain-y. The house beer isn't stellar, but they typically have an eclectic selection of guest taps to choose from. I ordered a pale ale and my friend got himself an IPA.

I was disappointed when the beers were presented to us. Both glasses were filled to the rim and completely devoid of any head whatsoever. Now, any craft beer aficionado will tell you that the head on a glass of beer is VERY important. A proper head is necessary not only for attractive presentation but for appropriate release of a beer's aromatic properties. I glanced around the bar and the dining room and was shocked to see that NO beer in the entire place had foam. A waitress walked by me with a tray full of suds-less beer. My outrage started to grow.

Actually, my companion was the one who complained to the waitress. She wandered away and a few minutes later came back to advise us that the manager was checking the tap lines. She never came back with a status report. She never offered to give us new pours. We sipped our headless brewskis and I vowed never to return.

I will absolutely NEVER recommend that particular brewpub to ANYONE. In fact, if anyone ever asks for my opinion about the place, it's not going to be a good one. (See above.) I do believe that Portland has just about reached the saturation point when it comes to brewery capacity. We'll probably see a few close their doors in the near future. Those that do not exhibit proper respect for the beer they pour will likely be the first to go. I'm just sayin'.

If you are a brewery owner or publican, please take heed. Make sure your taps are pristine and that your employees know how to pour a beer. Properly maintain, wash and rinse your glassware. If you need assistance in that area, I'm more than happy to oblige. Well, not in the actual glass washing--I'm thinking more of a "quality control", tasting role. In the meantime, here's a cane shake for all those past, present and future headless beers...


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ex Novo Brewing Company - Damon Stoutamire Rip City Stout

Rip City, baby!
I'm watching the Portland Trail Blazers play the Altlanta Hawks. I won't say that the Blazers are losing...but they're not winning. I haven't always been a Blazers fan but I'm not ever going to be one of those guys who keeps a weird, obsessive, life-long loyalty to a sports team thousands of miles away.

You know the people I'm talking about. They grew up in Brooklyn or Memphis or Kansas City or some other place that is not where they are currently living. There he goes, a dude wearing a Celtics jersey, even though he's lived in Portland for the past 20 years. Come on, man! The last time that shirt was popular anywhere but Boston was when House of Pain came out with Jump Around. Ack! And here comes his equally annoying buddy, Mr. Raiders hat. Would that be a fan of the Oakland or the L.A. variety of Raiders? Hmmmm...sports teams aren't always loyal to their fans. I'm just sayin'.

Yes, I'll always have a soft spot for the teams I cheered on when I was a kid, but I want to be able to go to games in my right now hometown and root for my local team. Thus, I have developed an interest in the Blazers. I've even started proudly using the nonsensical and purely arbitrary Trail Blazers battlecry: RIP CITY! What does Rip City mean EXACTLY, you ask? Truthfully, no one knows. Blazers announcer Bill Schonely made it up during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers back in 1971. That's so...Portland.

I am reviewing an appropriate beer this evening: Ex Novo Brewing Company's Damon Stoutamore Rip City Stout. Damon Stoudamire is a Trail Blazers legend and the beer's moniker is an interesting tribute...I think it's meant as a tribute. Actually, I was just thinking about Stoudamire the other day--wondering how differently things would have been for him if recreational marijuana had been legal back in the early aughts. His arrests for possession and the controversy that swirled around them seem so frivolous and ridiculous now that pot is legal--and an adult can go into any of dozens of Portland dispensaries to legally buy it. Hey! Enough with the digressions! Let's get to the beer!

Damon Stoutamire poured into my stout glass a thoroughly 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 thin cap and a ring of residual foam were left behind.

Aroma was cocoa, espresso and overripe fruit. Fig. Roasted nuts. A hint of citrus hops.

Taste was coffee and dark chocolate. Roasted malt. A bit smokey but with no acrid harsh. Caramel and toffee notes. A bit nutty.

Slightly full mouthfeel. Appropriate carbonation. Finish was smooth but with a lingering bitterness that I very much appreciated. Hops bitterness and roasted malt flavors were left behind on the palate at the end.

Overall, this is a highly drinkable stout. A hint of smokiness, but nothing offensive. Not overly sweet. Appreciable hops bitterness that wasn't over the top. I like it! Damon Stoutamire is a perfect stout for me. Good stuff and I'm giving it a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Announcing WAYFINDER BEER

(PRESS RELEASE)

Portland Beer & Food Veterans to Debut New Brewery/Restaurant, Featuring Lagers, Wood-Fired Grilling, and a Massive Outdoor Deck

PORTLAND, Ore. (January 11, 2016) — A team featuring some of Portland's favorite entrepreneurs is pleased to announce its plans for WAYFINDER BEER, a new brewery/restaurant coming to Portland's hot Central Eastside neighborhood. Founders Charlie Devereux (Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom), Matthew Jacobson (Sizzle Pie, Quality Bar, Relapse Records), and Rodney Muirhead (Podnah's Pit, La Taq) are busy converting a 100-year-old brick warehouse into a classic craft brewery, with a 100+ seat beer hall and an equally large outdoor seating area. Current plans call for opening in Spring 2016.
 
A 10-barrel capacity, four-vessel lager brewhouse built by local fabricator JV Northwest will sit adjacent to the main dining area, giving patrons an up-close look at the brewing process. A custom-built wood-fired grill will anchor the open kitchen at the other end of the space. In the center of everything is a 2,200 square-foot wood-planked deck with fire pit, providing an elevated sanctuary from the neighborhood's industrial bustle.

The three founders envision a space that's warm, comfortable and characterful, with a touch of a modern edge. Design work by Portland-based Works Partnership Architecture injects energy into the brick-walled edifice, with new skylights and a steel-paneled back bar and glassware-filled bar overhang. "We told WPA that we wanted our bar to be a 'temple to glassware' and they came back with some very cool ideas," says Devereux.

The project began as a collaboration between Devereux and Jacobson, who bonded over shared experiences as entrepreneurs and beer lovers. "Matt was a big Double Mountain fan," says Devereux, who left the company in 2013 with an idea for a new Portland venture. "And I was really impressed with Sizzle Pie's terrific branding and marketing. But we really didn't know each other. A mutual friend made the connection for us and we were off to the races . . . I was having lunch with Rodney about six months later and he expressed interest in joining the team as a partner," Devereux continues. "It took me about two seconds to say, ‘Yes, absolutely!’ I think Matt's reaction was even quicker."

Muirhead, who won Willamette Week's Restaurant of the Year in 2011 for Podnah's Pit, is designing a beer-friendly menu with his signature style: inventive yet gimmick-free, and executed to the highest standards. Sandwiches (think smoked prime rib cheesesteak, duck confit bahn mi), house-made sausages, pretzels and snacks will dominate the all-day menu. The grill will take precedence in the evening, delivering steaks, chops, coal-roasted vegetables, and much more. The menu boasts vegan and vegetarian options as well.

Muirhead's management team from Podnah's and La Taq will run daily operations. Wayfinder will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.

In its quest for world-class lagers, Wayfinder has hired award-winning brewmaster Kevin Davey, recently of Gordon Biersch in Seattle, to lead the brewing effort. Davey has won gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival for his lagers, after getting his start in brewing at German-inspired Chuckanut Brewing Company in Bellingham and a pit stop at Firestone Walker Brewery in California.
 
Pilsners and other lagers will star, but they won't be alone: Wayfinder plans to brew a wide variety of beers, including American and Belgian-inspired ales. "I think we'll be about 50/50 lager vs. ales," Devereux notes. "We'll see what our customers are digging, and brew accordingly. But we all love how perfectly a great lager can complement great food." A full bar is planned as well, with custom drinks designed by local mixologist Jacob Grier, author of "Cocktails on Tap: The Art of Mixing Spirits and Beer.” Long-time Portland craft beer icon Jonathan Carmean will serve as bar manager.

The brewery will be located at 304 SE 2nd Avenue in the City Sign Building, just around the corner from Produce Row Cafe. With a footprint of approximately 8,900 square feet, Wayfinder has expansion room to meet wholesale demand. Devereux estimates the facility can ultimately support up to 7,500 barrels per year of production

BTU Brasserie

And now for something completely different...
After visiting umpteen zillion brewpubs and brewery taprooms, they all kind begin to blend together. Hey, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, but I'm always looking for something just a little bit different. Hey! How about something completely different? How about a brewery that is also a Chinese restaurant? You don't run across that everyday, do you?

I'm talking about one of my favorite Portland breweries: BTU Brasserie. The name doesn't sound at all like a place that serves up some tasty dim sum and Chinese-inpsired dishes, but that's what they do at BTU. Check out the menu HERE.

It can get damn tedious eating pub grub that consists of nothing but sliders, tots and cheese curds. Seriously, if I see another sweet potato fry this week, I think I'll scream. BTU is a tasty, welcome diversion from the tired, old PDX brewpub norm.

The happy hour at BTU is a nice deal. Every Tuesday through Sunday, from 2 to 6PM, you'll find $3 pints and $5 dim sum. There's also a $7 cocktail deal (full bar) but you know I'm there for the beer. At my most recent visit, I found two tasty lagers that fit my after work mood just fine.

The Hipster Lager is an American pilsner brewed with puffed Jasmine rice. It comes with an ABV of 5.6% and I found it to be crisp and refreshing. I would describe it as a premium PBR--an old school lager without the rough edges.

The Mama Z Cerveza is a Vienna-style Mexican lager brewed with corn and crystal malt. ABV is 6.3%. I really like this brew and it made me wax nostalgic for 20th Century. Mama Z very much resembles those classic Mexican lagers that many of my generation enjoyed before the craft beer revolution took off. Good stuff, compadre!

Of course, BTU brews some solid, Northwest IPA's. They even have a sour on the taplist that was brewed with beets. It's named The Sword and it is about as unique a brew as you'll find--and it is exceptionally delicious.

As for the food, it's excellent and reasonably priced. I recommend the pot stickers, the red oil dumplings, the deconstructed char siu bao, and the Hunan noodles. Man, I'm making myself hungry! Where's my bus pass!

BTU Brasserie is located at 5846 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland OR, 97213. I highly recommend. I'm giving them a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Loowit Brewing Company - Flawless Victory IPA

Finish him! (...or it...whatever)
I used to play a lot of video games. One of the first PC (that stands for personal computer not politically correct) games I ever played was Mortal Kombat. What a cool game. Martial artists vs. immortal demons in a one-on-one, 2-D arena of mayhem!

I spent a whole bunch of hours playing Mortal Kombat. It was a fairly simple game to play, but practice made perfect. If you were adept enough to master all of the basic and special moves of your selected character, and able to defeat your opponent without taking any damage, you were rewarded with a flawless victory; which just so happens to be the name of the beer I'm reviewing today.

Loowit Brewing Company is located just over the Washington State border in beautiful Vancouver. Flawless Victory is an India Pale Ale with an ABV of 7.5% and 90+ IBU's. I must admit that given the brewery's name, I was really hoping I could use the phrase "Loowit blew it" in my review, but alas, that was not to be. This is a darn delicious IPA!

The beer poured into my IPA glass a slightly hazy, deep amber color with a creamy, white head. The head rose up to more than a finger thick and dissipated slowly. Copious amounts of webby lacing were left behind.

Aroma was sweet caramel malt and indistinct citrus hops. Hints of pine. Light tropical fruit.

Taste followed the nose. Some appreciable dankness in the hops profile; citrus, pine resin and hints of the ol' sticky icky. Solid malt flavor. Good balance of the sweet, earthy malt against the bitter hops.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Noticeable alcohol but not too hot. A bit of a dry finish with the bitter hops and robust malt flavor left behind on the palate.

Overall, this is bold flavored IPA that may not be for everybody, but I liked it a lot. I'm giving Flawless Victory IPA a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Hopworks Releases Newest Beer in Single Hop Series - Organic El Dorado IPX

(Image courtesy of Hopworks)
(PRESS RELEASE)

PORTLAND, OR – Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) today announced the release of Organic El Dorado Single Hop IPX. The beer is the ninth bottled release in HUB’s IPX Single Hop Ale Series, providing drinkers an educational celebration of hops for more than three years. El Dorado IPX is available on tap and in 22oz bottles in both Hopworks’ pubs and throughout the Northwest.

El Dorado IPX contains certified organic El Dorado hops from Jackson Hop farm in Caldwell, Idaho. A relative newcomer to the brewing industry, El Dorado hops were developed by CLS Farms in 2008 and released commercially in 2010.

Organic El Dorado IPX is a light bodied ale showcasing tropical fruit and pear hop flavors and aromas. Each beer in the series is brewed according to the same base recipe, with the same finishing hop schedule, and ends up at 60 IBU and 6% ABV.

Every IPX release is an opportunity to compare and contrast ways that hops affect beer’s flavor and aroma profiles. Hops previously featured in the IPX bottles include Organic Cascade, Organic and Salmon-Safe Centennial, Amarillo, Organic and Salmon-Safe Chinook, Organic Ahtanum, Organic Fuggle, Salmon-Safe Mt. Hood, and Organic Simcoe hops.

About Hopworks Urban Brewery 
Hopworks Urban Brewery 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. Hopworks is a family-owned and operated business, the first Certified B Corporation brewery in the Pacific Northwest, a gold-level bike friendly business, and is recognized as one of Oregon’s Best Green Companies. Visit Hopworks online at HopworksBeer.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Burnside Brewing Company - Permafrost Northwest Winter Ale

Perfect for a rare snow day?
I woke up this morning to find my house, yard and entire neighborhood blanketed with fluffy, white snow! It's been a while since Portland, OR has had a real snowstorm. Typically, the stuff disappears the second it hits the ground, but not today! Little kids are outside sledding down driveways and their dads are using shiny, new snow shovels that have been stashed away in toolsheds for a couple of years. (I'm not going to shovel my walk because I'm a lazy idiot who likes to slip and slide on concrete at 6AM.)

How fortuitous that I recently purchased a bomber of Burnside Brewing Company's Permafrost Northwest Winter Ale! This is absolutely the perfect day for a snowy photo-op--and to drink a tasty winter warmer. Did I mention that my furnace is on the fritz? I'm getting ready to watch the Seahawks game in a parka. I can see my breath in my living room. It's like I'm actually at the game! Wait...they're playing in Phoenix. It's probably 75 degrees there. Grrrr.

Permafrost poured into my pint glass a slightly hazy, deep amber color with a thick, creamy, mocha-colored head. The head stuck around for a while and left a full, thin cap and webby lacing behind.

Aroma was earthy malt and cocoa. Light scent of over-ripe fruit. Toasted nuts.

Taste was toasty, biscuity malt up front. Citrus hops--orange and lemon. Cocoa. Dark cherries and roasted filberts. A bit smokey on the finish and a touch of heat from the 8.3% ABV.

Medium mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Creamy finish with a bit of a chew to it. Bitter hops and solid, earthy malt flavors left on the palate at the end. Nice balance.

I like this winter warmer! I'm finishing it off as the Seahawks are knocking on the door for a touchdown... SHORT! Dang it! Anyway, this is a nice brew. I'm giving Permafrost a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

January is IPA Month at Oregon Hophouse

Jelly jars at the ready! 3, 2, 1, GO!
Just the other day, while perusing the interwebs, I ran across yet another insipid article that named some rinky-dink little town on the East Coast The Best Beer City in America. This particular "ranking" utilized--get this--Yelp reviews as part of their criteria. Seriously? Does anyone even use Yelp anymore? Yelp is so aughts. Am I right?

I suspect an Ouija board was also used to come up with the dubious rankings. My beloved Portland (Oregon) was ranked number three and I noted that San Diego didn't even make the list...so there you go. Can you say BULL PUCKY, kids? I knew that you could.

The Portland craft beer scene certainly hasn't suffered from these constant snubs, slights, and insults. There are dozens of great breweries and hundreds fantastic beers to drink here, and the beer events are seemingly endless and awesome, too. There are so many events, in fact, that I can't even begin to keep up. "YOU HAVE 3 EVENTS ON YOUR CALENDAR TODAY!" just popped up on my phone. Oh, the busy life of a Beer Guy!

A much anticipated month-long event started yesterday and I was one of the very first people to participate. I'm talking about IPA Month that is going on at both locations of the Oregon Hophouse from January 1 through the 31st. The Hophouse staff has put together an amazing tap list of 12 of the very best Oregon IPA's. It's a blind taste test. The beertenders don't even know what's being poured. Your job is to identify those beers AND choose your favorite.

Here's how it works (snagged from the Hophouse website):

You’ll get a flight of 6 IPAs, and a separate list of all 6 beers including the hop varietals used in each, as disclosed by the brewers. You may get to smell-test some dried hops. You try to match the 6 with a list of 6 beers. Then you get a second flight, and repeat with a second list. If you get 10-12 matches right, you get a free mug club membership (sweeeeet!!!). There will be lesser prizes awarded as the contest progresses. All lists will be graded at the end of each week. You’ll learn how many you got right, and if you earned a prize. Cost to enter the contest is $12/person. Prizes include tshirts, mug club memberships, growlers, gift cards, etc.

Check out this tap list:
  • pFriem IPA 
  • Ex Novo Eliot IPA 
  • Boneyard RPM 
  • Breakside IPA 
  • Buoy IPA 
  • Barley Browns Pallet Jack 
  • Gigantic IPA 
  • Crux Outcast IPA 
  • Laurelwood Workhorse 
  • Ft George Vortex 
  • Double Mountain Hop Lava 
  • Drinking Horse IPA
Honestly, this is much more difficult than it sounds! I'm pretty sure I got one right, but no way did I match all 12! I guess I'll find out the embarrassing results at the end of the week!

Hawthorne Hophouse is located at 4111 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, Oregon 97214. 15th Avenue Hophouse is at 1517 NE Brazee St., Portland, Oregon 97212.