Thursday, December 29, 2016

Hopworks Vancouver Brewpub to Open on Friday

(PRESS RELEASE)

Vancouver, WA — Hopworks Urban Brewery, known for a sustainable, Eco-friendly approach to craft beer, will open their third location on Friday, December 30. The new space is a 6,000 square foot brewery and restaurant in East Vancouver, Washington, at 17707 SE Mill Plain Boulevard.

“We are a neighborhood brewery,” said Hopworks Brewmaster and Founder, Christian Ettinger. “Part of being a good neighbor is simple - treat the neighborhood with love and respect, and always serve your neighbors the best beer you can. Vancouver is packed with families and people who love craft beer, and it has a rich brewing history. There is such a great community feeling here, so we are happy to share our beer and space with the people of this beautiful city.”

The new brewery, which features an 8 barrel brewhouse and restaurant with seating for 300, continues the commitment to sustainability that made Hopworks the first Certified B Corporation brewery in the Northwest.The brewpub will serve a number of beers exclusively for Vancouver, including a new Imperial IPA that debuts on Friday. All beers are brewed with thoughtfully sourced ingredients from Washington and Oregon, including organic barley malted in Vancouver, and a combination of local, organic, and Salmon-Safe hops.

In true Hopworks fashion, the Vancouver site is at the intersection of two bike paths, with plenty of bike parking. The brewpub is a Salmon-Safe Certified development and contains a 10Kw solar array, native landscaping, and energy and water efficient design.

“Like our other locations, the Vancouver brewpub is also family friendly,” added Ettinger. "You can take in views of Mt. Hood from the mezzanine, hang out in the beer garden, or relax with a pint in the lounge.” The Hopworks kitchen will serve a variety of the classic Hopworks pizzas, sandwiches, and burgers along with a number of new menu items.

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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 in Portlad produces 13,500 barrels of beer and cider a year for HUB’s 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 Long Root Ale received Brewbound’s “Marketing Initiative Award of the Year” in 2016. At the end of 2016 Hopworks will open a new 8 barrel brewery in Vancouver, Washington. More info at: hopworksbeer.com

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Vertigo Brewing - Friar Mike's India Pale Ale

Join the Friar's Club...
According to OregonCraftBeer.org, there are currently 69 breweries in the city of Portland, and 105 in the Portland Metro Area, I'll admit that I don't get out to the suburban areas surrounding my fair city very often. I don't have a car of my own and I rely on public transportation to get me around town. (No, I'm not a  car-less loser--it's a lifestyle choice. Okay, a lifestyle choice forced on me by the ridiculous lack of parking in my NE Portland neighborhood.) That's life in the big city.

A trip to what I call the Hinterlands--nearby communities like Tigard, Milwaukie and Hillsboro--take me at least an hour and a couple of transfers from bus to light rail. Ugh. too much of a chug. Nevertheless, there are a good number of breweries just outside Portland-proper that deserve a visit, if you're not too lazy to get to them.

Vertigo Brewing is located in the city of Hillsboro, OR. The brewery/taproom is situated in an unassuming business park that took me a few turns to find the first time I dropped by. If you should happen to find yourself out that way, I recommend paying Vertigo a visit. Excellent beer brewed by excellent people.

Today, I'm drinking a bomber of Vertigo Brewing's Friar Mike's India Pale Ale. This IPA comes with an ABV of  6.1% and 62 IBU's. How is it, you ask? Let's find out!

The beer poured into my glass a golden orange color with a bright, white head. The head rose up to a finger thick and dissipated slowly. Copious sheets of webby lacing were left behind on the glass.

Aroma was citrus hops and caramel malt. Orange and grapefruit. Hints of pine. Floral notes.

Taste followed the nose. Citrus and pine. A level of hops bitterness that I appreciated very much, with sweet caramel malt providing an appropriate balance. Nice!

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Nice, bitter hops taste left on the palate at the finish.

Overall, this is a solid, old school IPA that does not disappoint. Loads of flavor. Sufficient hops bitterness for a picky hophead. I like it and I would be happy to find Friar Mike's on any tap list. Merry the Wonder Beagle demanded a taste and I obliged with a small drop from the tip of my pinky. She reversed sniffed, which is a high compliment from a beagle. I'm giving Friar Mike's IPA a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4 and the coveted Droolie.


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Block 15 Releases Early Winter Seasonal Offering, Cosmic Cold Brew, Café Borgia

(Photo courtesy of Block 15 Block 15 Brewing Co)

(PRESS RELEASE)

A stout brewed with citrus and matured on cocoa and Ethiopian Celinga coffee beans from Bespoken Coffee Roasters

Corvallis, OR — Today Block 15 Brewing Company releases its early winter seasonal, Cosmic Cold Brew, Café Borgia, available bottled and on tap at bottle shops and beer bars around Oregon. Block 15 worked alongside their south Corvallis neighbors, Bespoken Coffee Roasters, to elevate their classic stout Nebula with additional malt and a 24-hour cold extraction on freshly roasted Ethiopia Celinga coffee. Both varietal and roast profile were selected to complement this stout with bright acidity, pie spice, and hints of caramel and citrus. For their Café Borgia variation, they also added sweet orange peel to the boil and cocoa extract to the tank— additions that layered notes of citrus and chocolate onto the base stout and coffee blend.

Grains: 2-row, Maris Otter, Chocolate Malt, C120, Chocolate Wheat, C-35, Roast, Flaked oats
Hops: Columbus, Crystal
Adjunct: Ethiopian Celinga coffee beans, sweet orange peel, cocoa extract
Yeast: London Ale III
ABV: 7%
FG: 1.021

Cosmic Cold Brew, Café Borgia is available in 500mL bottles featuring artwork from artist Patricia Smith.

About Block 15 Brewing Company
Offering unique hop forward ales, crisp lagers, barrel-aged rarities and one of the Northwest’s most extensive wild & sour programs, Block 15 produces a range of artfully crafted beers, brewed with a nod toward fresh ingredients and fresh thinking. Established in 2008, and brewer-owned from day one.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Belching Beaver Brewery - ¡Viva La Beaver!

Leave it to Beaver...
I'm a firm believer that less is more, especially when it comes to beer. Reinheitsgebot, the German Beer Purity Law, has been around for more than 500 years. Water, barley, hops: that's it. No other ingredients are allowed--and it's hard to argue with such a winner of a formula.

Of course, I might as well go all in with the hackneyed idioms and remind you, dear reader, that variety is indeed the spice of life. Thus, I will, on occasion, sample a beer that goes a tad beyond those three legendary ingredients. Today, I'm drinking a peanut butter, Mexican chocolate, milk stout from Oceanside, California's Belching Beaver Brewery called ¡Viva La Beaver! Yup, that's really the name of the brewery and that's really the name of the beer.

I've been enjoying milk stouts lately. They're a good beer for the holidays: sweet, a little festive; like the hot cocoa you leave out for ol' Sandy Claws.

This milk stout comes with an ABV of 7.5% and the label says that it's made with water, grain, lactose, hops, yeast, Mexican chocolate (sugar, chocolate, soy lecithin, vegetable oil), natural and artificial flavors. Not very Reinheitsgebot-y there, am I right? Well, let's get this show on the road and see how ¡Viva La Beaver! stacks up on the Crushed Can Scale...

The beer poured into my glass a solid black color with a light mocha head. The head rose up to two fingers thick, presented some large, Swiss cheese-like bubbles, and dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin ring of foam was left behind, along with a few spots of thin lace on the glass.

Aroma was peanut butter and milk chocolate up front. Sweet malt. Hints of filberts in there, too.

Taste followed the nose. Big on the peanut butter--Nutter Butters--with the filbert flavor that the nose foretold. (Filberts are hazelnuts, for those outside of Oregon.) Dark roast coffee and milk chocolate. Malted milk balls. Is this a beer or a dessert? That's not a slam. This is a very tasty beer that would go well with a chocolate-y dessert--or a handful of Peanut M&M's.

Medium body but with a thinner mouthfeel than I expected. Smooth finish that left that peanut butter and milk chocolate flavor behind. Appropriate carbonation.  Not at all boozy.

Overall, this is a delightful, sweet treat that I very much enjoyed. I would absolutely have to be in the mood for ¡Viva La Beaver!, though, and there's no way I'd ever be up for finishing an entire bomber by myself. Hey, Belching Beaver Brewery, may I suggest 12 oz bottles? In any case, this one gets a very respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Gigantic Brewing Company - Shazoo Milk Stout

Do you shazoo?
What the heck is a shazoo? I googled it but the only thing I could find was a YouTube video of a Family Guy clip involving a European See and Say. Apparently, European cows say "shazoo" instead of "moo". Hey, I'm not making this crap up, I'm just reporting it.

Shazoo is also the monicker of the beer I'm drinking tonight. Gigantic Brewing Company's Shazoo Milk Stout to be precise. I picked up a bomber of this beer at New Seasons. Sorry, I don't recall the price. Hey, it didn't bankrupt me, I can tell you that. The label proclaims an ABV of 8.5% Ah, the label also says the beer is "inspired by Europe" with the addition of milk sugar. I see what they did there.

How does this Europe inspired beer rank on the ol' Beer Guy PDX crushed can scale? Let's find out!

The beer poured into my glass a pitch black color that showed some mahogany tones when held up to the light. A creamy, clumpy, mocha head rose up to almost a finger thick. The foam dissipated at a moderate rate and left behind a thin cap of spotty lacing.

Aroma was espresso and chocolate. Sweet malt. Vanilla. Caramel.

Taste was sweet lactose right up front, but that was immediately toned down by coffee and bitter cocoa flavors. Robust roasted malt. Smooth. No hint of booze to this 8.5% beer. Sweet but not at all cloying. Just a hint of smokiness.

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel. Appropriate carbonation. Creamy, silky finish with all the aforementioned flavors balancing on the palate at the end.

Overall, this is an excellent beer. Flavorful, rich and surprisingly complex for the style. I like it!

I'm giving Shazoo a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.


Beer Guy PDX Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Happy freakin' holidays, ya filthy animal!
Yeah, yeah, I know! I'm getting off the mark a little late this year. I've been a wee bit distracted by the collapse of Western Civilization, the destruction of Democracy and, uh, stuff. You know how it is. Anyway, anyhow, anyhoo, we have about 18 shopping days until Christmas, and for all the Johnny Come-Latelies like me who do most of our shopping on-line, there's about a 10-day window to get this job done. Yikes!

This isn't so much a "gift guide" as it is the random meanderings of a desperate man across the internet. I must say that once again I've found a number of amazing beer-related gifts--for myself. What? Did you think I was going shopping for you? Don't be silly.

1) Let's start out with a great little stocking stuffer. Does  your significant other love beer? Does he also have a mustache? What happens to his 'stache as soon as he takes a long sip on that pint glass?

FOAMSTACHE!

Here's a little tool to solve that problem: The MoGuard Mustache Guard Drink Attachment. The MoGuard is made from flexible silicon and can fit a variety of glasses. Just slap it onto the glass and enjoy some foam-free sipping. Available right now at Amazon for only $9.99 and free shipping for Prime members, the MoGuard comes in a variety of colors and is dishwasher safe. There's also a hole in the thing for attaching to a keychain, but my keys are filthy, so that's not gonna happen. CLICK HERE for ordering information.

2) Is your primary mode of transportation a bicycle? Do you ever have a hard time transporting mass quantities of beer by bicycle? If so, I have  a great little item for you!

The Beer Gear 6 Pack Bike Carrier by True is made from sturdy nylon and holds six bottles of beer. It can be easily attached to a bike frame or a  pannier rack, and it's even insulated! Won't you be the stylin' devil when you pull up to the next bottle share with this  tote strapped to your fixie? Hell, yeah, you will!

Only $11.89 right now on Amazon AND there's free shipping for Prime members.

CLICK HERE for ordering information.

3) I don't know about you, but I don't think it's possible to own too many bottle openers. Of course, Mrs. BeerGuyPDX would disagree, but she just doesn't understand the  pure tragedy of needing a beer bottle open and not having an opener immediately within reach. Come on! Somebody might actually have to walk into another room to pop that top off a cold one? That's crazy talk!

No matter. I will have an opener conveniently mounted in every room as soon as I get this Diablo III Bottle Opener from ThinkGeek.

This devilish device is the spittin' image of good ol' Diablo from the epic Blizzard video game. It can also be magnetically attached to the fridge! What more could you want? I'm pretty sure my lovely spouse will have no problem with me mounting this thing on our living room wall, right next to the velvet Jesus.

Only $19.99! CLICK HERE for ordering information.

4) It's my personal opinion that a man just isn't a real man unless he has a little fire in his pocket. Do you know what I mean? No? Okay, a man is supposed to be able to cut stuff and set stuff on fire whenever asked. It's the law of the urban jungle. That's why a decent pocket knife and a reliable lighter are de rigueur for any dude worth his snuff.

There's nothing more awesomely reliable than a trusty Zippo lighter. I firmly believe every man should carry one in his pocket--whether he  smokes or not. And wouldn't you know it? Zippo has several beer-themed lighters  available.

Right now, at Amazon, you can order a Zippo Beer 6 Pack Engraved Lighter for  the low price of $29.95 (okay, that's not so low) and with free shipping!

CLICK HERE to get one!

5) My wife just loves candles. That's my go-to stocking stuffer for her. "Mmmm, isn't the smell of this lavender-scented votive divine," she'll say. I'll just nod in the affirmative--like I know what lavender is--like I know what a votive candle is--you know, like I know.

This year, I want a candle! The Beer Scented Stinky Candle from the Stinky Candle Company sounds like it's  perfect for moi! Truthfully, I've never smelled one of these. I have no idea if it actually smells like beer. Heck, for only $10.99 at Perpetual Kid, why not give it a try? I mean, seriously, how bad could it be?

Order one today and let me know how it goes. CLICK HERE for more information.

6) Ah, yes! Every year I run across an item that is just so ridiculously wrong that I MUST have one! Here's the conversation I imagine between two drunks at the last George Foreman Grill Inventors Convention:

DRUNK ONE: Say, Billy, you know what would be terrifi-, turrifi-terr--AWESOME!

DRUNK TWO: No, Joe--BURP!--I do not!

DRUNK ONE: A bottle opener that can shoost out the bottle cap like a gun!

DRUNK TWO: (misses high-five) HELLS, YES! That would be clashic! I mean CLASSIC! Let's do it!

Yup, because nobody's eye is getting shot out here! Nope! Nopitty nope! The LMS Cap Zappa Beer Bottle Opener Cap Launcher Shooter by Spinning Hat can be had  at Amazon for only $8.44 with free shipping. What could go wrong? Don't sue me if anything does!

CLICK HERE for more information.

7) How is your beer lover set for steins? Come on! Nobody can have too many beer steins! Steins are collectible! My wife actually lets me display mine in a "discreet" spot in our living room. Okay, they're in the hall closet but that's CLOSE to the living room.

Check this out! They have a trio of Star Wars steins available for $39.99 on Amazon with free Prime shipping! They have Darth Vader, R2D2 and my personal fav: Chewbacca. I want one!

The Star Wars Chewbacca Stein is a collectible, 22oz, ceramic mug with a metal hinge that unfortunately does not make the distinctive Chewbacca roar sound when you lift his head for a sip. You can, however, provide the sound effect for yourself.

CLICK HERE for the info.

8) To quote the timelessly skeevy Dean Martin Christmas tune, "Baby, it's cold outside!" What can you do to keep yourself warm, other than put yourself in harm's way hanging out with a slurring, leering, semi-inebriated lounge lizard?  How about the perfect winter scarf?

The Beer Time Scarf from Portland's own Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) is appropriately stylish for all kinds of yucky weather.

Get yourself one for only $22.00 at the Hopworks on-line store. CLICK HERE for ordering information.

Okay, that's my list for now. I may follow up with a Part 2 tomorrow. If I don't, here's wishing you all a very merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, and the best New Year ever!