Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Oregon Craft Beer by the Numbers

(PRESS RELEASE)

In a Changing Craft Beer Climate, Oregon Drinkers Continue to Support Their Local Brewers

PORTLAND, Ore. (April 19, 2017) — Today, the Oregon Brewers Guild released their annual numbers report for 2016. Overall, Oregon is seeing strong growth in employment and brewing company numbers, while production numbers and sales continue to hold strong and steady. Oregonians are drinking more Oregon beer. Beer consumption increased in 2016, with 23.3 percent of the 3.04 million barrels of all beer (both bottled and draft) consumed in the state were made in Oregon. 707,000 barrels of beer consumed by Oregonians in 2016 were made by an Oregon brewery, an 8.7 percent increase from 2015.

Oregon draft beer consumption stole an even larger market share, with Oregon breweries producing an estimated 64.9 percent of all draft beer consumed in the state. Barrel production in the state increased by 4.8 percent in 2016, coming in at a grand total of 1,782,000 barrels. More beer meant more people, with approximately 369,000 people visiting an Oregon brewery, pub, or tasting room on a weekly basis, or approximately 19,000,000 total visitors in 2016.
The Oregon brewing industry continues to support job growth in the state, employing roughly 31,000 Oregonians directly and indirectly, and contributing $4.49 billion to the state’s economy. Oregon’s brewing establishments employed 9,453 people in 2016 according to Damon Runberg, Economist with the Oregon Employment Department. Runberg says:
The job growth rate of 8.3 percent over the past the year is really impressive given that statewide total nonfarm growth during the same period was only 2.5 percent. The craft beer industry added around 1,340 jobs over the past two years, a growth of nearly 22 percent, which compares to a growth of 6.3 percent for total nonfarm growth during the same period. The count of jobs is an underestimate of the total employment impact, as newer brewing establishments and small owner-operated breweries are not included in the total count. The 2016 numbers are provided by the Oregon Employment Department using payroll tax records.

Hops also contribute largely to the Oregon economy. As the second largest hop growing state in the country, Oregon had a 2016 crop value of $34,564,000. Oregon’s 230 breweries continue to support their local economies and communities donating an estimated $3,000,000 to non-profits in 2016.

“Oregon is a consistent leader in the U.S. for craft beer whether it’s the number of breweries per capita, the percentage of dollars spent on craft beer, or the economic impact per capita by Oregon’s breweries,” says Brian Butenschoen, executive director of the Oregon Brewers Guild. “We continue to see an increase in the amount of manufacturing and service jobs added in the state and we saw Oregon breweries increase their export sales by 25.6 percent (650,000 case equivalents) in 2016. Oregon’s craft brewers sold a total of 1.075 million barrels in the U.S. and around the world last year, including barrels shipped to five Canadian provinces and 37 different countries.”

As of December 31, 2016 the state had 230 brewing companies operating 261 brewing facilities in 73 cities across the state, an increase of 15 brewing facilities in 2016.

Brewery count by city and region:

70 in Portland — 105 in the Portland Metro Area
14 in Eugene — 45 in the Willamette Valley
26 in Bend — 36 in Central Oregon
6 in Astoria — 27 on The Coast
6 in Medford — 24 in Southern Oregon
5 in Hood River — 12 in Mt. Hood/The Gorge
2 in Baker City + Ontario — 12 in Eastern Oregon

# # #

About The Oregon Brewers Guild
The Oregon Brewers Guild is Oregon’s non-profit trade association for the state’s independent breweries. The Guild, which receives no state funding, comprises 160 brewing companies, 125 associate or supplier members and nearly 4,000 enthusiast members or S.N.O.B.s (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer). For more information, see http://oregoncraftbeer.org/.


Monday, April 3, 2017

From the City of Roses and the City of Beer Festivals Comes “CITY OF GOSES” May 27 & 28

(PRESS RELEASE)

LABrewatory Hosts World’s Largest Celebration of Sour, Salted Beers

Beervana, OR, April 3, 2017 – CITY of GOSES, the largest and possibly first celebration strictly dedicated to gose-style beers is also the Portland Rose Festival’s first sanctioned beer fest. The two-day event held over Memorial Day weekend will feature 30 goses from Saxony to Stumptown. From über traditional versions on this salty, sour beer including imports from its source in Leipzig, Germany to takes from around Portland and across the globe, CITY of GOSES may require returning both days to fully enjoy the gamut gose has to offer. The fest takes place three blocks from the Albina/Mississippi Max station just one stop north of the Gose Quarter, er, Rose Quarter at LABrewatory (670 N. Russell St.). The event is Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28 from 1 - 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the gate. Tickets are available now at Merctickets.com/go/CityOfGoses .

Nearly one year ago, New Zealand native and Portland staple John Lovegrove texted pun-loving event-producer Brian Yaeger. The note read, "Brace yourself...The City of Goses...That totally has a Brian Yaeger Presents feel about it." Yep. In a world where sour beers are increasingly sought after, lower-alcohol session ales have a foothold, and warmer weather always calls for the most refreshing beer, it’s no surprise today’s craft brewers are exploring gose (pronounced gose-uh). This wheat ale brewed with salt, coriander, and tart lactic acid originated between the 12th and 15th centuries in Goslar in Lower Saxony though it’s identified mostly with Leipzig in Saxony. Each participating brewery delivers a distinct spin via selected salts and additional ingredients.

Admission includes a souvenir glass and additional tasting tickets will be available for $1 each. With one exception, all beers will be one (1) ticket per four-ounce sample and four (4) tickets for a 14-ounce pour. Samples from the last keg on Earth of Cascade Brewing’s 2010 Summer Gose, will be two (2) tickets and not available as a full pour. LABrewatory will have a selection of non-gose house beers available as well.

The mostly Portland line-up includes: Baerlic, Burnside, Cascade, Coalition (featuring hemp extracted CBD), The Commons, Culmination, Deschutes-PDX, Ecliptic, Great Notion, Hopworks, Little Beast, Occidental (Germanic brewery’s first solo foray into German-style sour beer), Rogue, Stormbreaker, Widmer Bros., and Zoiglhaus (where braumeister Alan Taylor brews the original recipe from Goslar and has trained in Leipzig). Host brewery LABrewatory will have a collaboration with Cerveza Loba in Portland Sister City Guadalajara.

Some of the breweries from beyond the City of Roses include four from California—Anderson Valley, Bruery Terreux (getting into the spirit with a gose featuring rose petals, rose hips, and rose water), Modern Times, and Sierra Nevada—plus the GABF gold medal winning gose from Reuben's in Seattle, Oedipus (from Amsterdam), and naturally, Ritterguts the traditional classic imported from Leipzig.

CITY of GOSES is all-ages event. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Caldera, the Portland arts organization that serves as a catalyst for the transformation of underserved youth through art and environmental programs.

Pertinent links: Ticketing Merctickets.com/go/CityOfGoses ($15 online, $20 at the gate.)
Facebook: Facebook.com/CityOfGoses
Twitter: @The_CityOfGoses
Visit LABrewatory online at Labrewatory.com or, y’know, in person at 670 N. Russell St.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

4th Annual Cider Rite of Spring - Saturday, March 25th


(PRESS RELEASE)

Sample over 100 unique ciders from 30+ Northwest cider-makers at the 2017 Cider Rite of Spring! Presented by Square Mile Cider.

Saturday, March 25, 12-6pm

The 4th Annual Cider Rite of Spring is a celebration of the blossoming Northwest Cider industry— a cider-exclusive festival welcoming the return of Spring. This year will be hosted in the beautifully renovated historic event space, The Evergreen in SE Portland, in partnership with Loyal Legion.

$25 General Admission includes a keepsake tasting glass and 8 drink tickets. VIP tickets available for the first time in 2017, including special ciders and cheese pairings.

CLICK HERE to buy tickets.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Cider Riot! - Plastic Paddy Irish Style Cider

Irish I had more cider!
Friday is St. Patrick's Day, that most contrived of American holidays--that's right, it's an American holiday, albeit with some traditional Irish roots. It started out as a somber religious celebration honoring St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland. Since the holiday's popularization here in the United States--where more than 33 million people now claim Irish ancestry--March 17th has lost any religious connotation and is now pretty much just a secular excuse to PARTAY! WOOOHOOOO!

Thus, on Friday, we will be subjected to endless construction paper shamrocks, green hats, and countless insipid drunks putting on the most attrocious Irish brogues. "Top o' the MORNIN' to ya!" Ugh, just shoot me now.

Of course, the most heinous St. Patrick's Day tradition is green beer. Ack! Seriously? Cheap beer colored green with copious amounts of unnatural dye that may or may not be carcinagenic, depending on who you ask? I don't know about you, but that's not how I like to imbibe. In any case, green beer is disgusting and should be avoided at all cost. Hey, in the very least, it'll turn your poo green... I'm just sayin'.

Gratefully, Portland's own Cider Riot! has brought back their Plastic Paddy Irish Style Cider just in time for St. Patrick's Day. This cider is owner and cidermaker Abram Goldman-Armstrong's homage to the bootleg cider he fremented in his dorm while attending college in Ireland. (I read all about it on the Cider Riot! website.) Plastic Paddy comes in a party-appropriate 2 liter flagon and has an ABV ringing in at 6%. It's infused with Irish tea to add the tannins that are absent in the Hood River apples used to make it. (Lots of information on that website.)

This St. Paddy's Day, I'm making a modest proposal that we refrain from swilling down green beer and drink Plastic Paddy instead! (It's PADDY not PATTY, by the way. Remember that and the ghost of my sainted Irish grandmother won't come back down to earth and smack you upside your head with her hymnal.) This cider is delightfully easy to drink. Pleasantly dry. The tea flavor is subtle and I really like it.

I picked up my 2 liter bottle at Green Zebra in Lloyd Center, should you have a hankering to stock up before Friday. I highly recommend that you do!

Sláinte!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Lombard House - The Biggest Little Taproom In Portland

Owner and Tapmaster Brian Koch pours
his heart and soul into Lombard House.
I'm always on the lookout for the quintessential neighborhood bar. You know the place: a friendly, cozy, tidy spot where you can drop in for a beer and the guy manning the taps remembers your gruesome mug, gives you a welcoming wave and calls you by name the minute you walk inside. The kind of place where nobody is trying to impress anybody. The kind of place where the genial attitude is pleasantly punctuated by an abbreviated but expertly curated taplist that is always on point and never disappoints. The kind of place where you can mount a bar stool and feel the tensions of the cruel world instantly melt off your shoulders while you sip on a fine craft beer.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "Come on. Wolf, that place doesn't exist." Well, my Doubting Thomas of a friend, I'm here tonight to tell you that it does exist--in St. John's.

Lombard House is just such a bar. It's a tiny spot to be sure. True to its name, it's a converted house...on N Lombard Street. The compact size reminds me of my own little Shotgun Shack--the private speakeasy of Your's Truly. It feels like you're in someone's cozy living room because I'm fairly certain that the interior seating area WAS someone's living room at one time. However, even with the compact size, the room doesn't feel cramped. There's an open wood beam ceiling and the interior noise is minimal, even with a semi-full house. It's easy to carry on a conversation without shouting, which is always a big plus in my book.

The cozy interior of Lombard House.
Behind the bar, you'll find ten taps that owner Brian Koch rotates with an eclectic selection of craft beer and cider that is guaranteed to please the palate of the indiscriminate novice and the initiated beer snob alike. Brian knows his wares and can give you as thorough a description and analysis of the beer he's pouring as you may desire. He's passionate about craft beer and it shows.

Make no mistake, under its genteel, neighborhood bar exterior, Lombard House is a serious craft beer bar. I drink a lot of beer--as if you didn't know that already--and it's rare that I'll find a beer on tap in this burg that I've never even heard of before. Lombard House has presented me with some delightful surprises each and every time I've visited.

No food is served but there is a fantastic food cart pod directly across the street where you can find just about any kind of victuals your little heart desires. Pick something up and bring it on over!

Lombard House is surrounded by a large outdoor patio and garden area that I imagine will be very pleasant to relax on once this bitter cold bummer of a Portland winter is over. (Oh, please, no more snow!) I cannot wait to visit when the weather is nice!

My kind of taplist: succinct and sublime.
Lombard House is located at 7337 N Lombard Street, Portland, Oregon 97203. Hours are from 2PM to 12AM Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday until 10PM.  Closed Mondays.

Friday, March 3, 2017

3rd Annual Baker's Dozen Dunks Saturday, March 11

(PRESS RELEASE)

FEATURING 13 COFFEE BEERS, ROASTERS, & LOCAL DOUGHNUTS

Beervana, OR, Jan. 18, 2016 – The Third Annual Baker’s Dozen is Portland’s, and the world’s, only coffee beer and doughnut festival. It features three things Portland does best: beer, coffee, and doughnuts. Portland is home to several dozen craft breweries and independent roasters so the marriage of the two made in hoppy, caffeinated heaven. Those results then pair sublimely with doughnuts. Mix’n’match; no single coffee beer is designed to complement any particular doughnut. The festival again takes place at Culmination Brewing Co. with assistance from neighbors Oregon Mead & Cider (2117 NE Oregon St.). New this year, the fest will occur over two sessions onSaturday, March 11, first from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then from 2 p.m. until 5 p.mLast year the event sold out in advance andtickets are limited to 700 (to ensure attendees can sample everything) and are available for $27 ($30 at the door if available) at Merctickets.com/go/BakersDozenPDX

Paid admission includes samples of every unique coffee-infused beer and delectable doughnut morsel (most will be quartered). Each beer incorporates a different local roaster’s beans. Brewers excel at experimenting with base styles on which to layer coffee notes over, ranging from traditional stouts and porters to cream ales, lagers, and in the case of co-host Oregon Mead & Cider, a honey mead. The nearly finished line-up this year features mostly Portland breweries: CulminationGiganticGreat NotionLabrewatoryMcMenaminsMontavilla (in collaboration with Bipartisan Café), and Tugboat. (This marks the first occasion ever where Tugboat’s beer will be available off-premise. It’s also the debut of Coffee Chernobyl, their celebrated 14% ABV double imperial stout.) Additionally, Block 15 from Corvallis will send the next rendition of Cosmic Cold Brew, “Double Ristretto,” San Diego’s Modern Times will have a beer made with house-roasted beans, and Georgetown from Seattle will pour their GABF 2016 gold medal winning Gusto Crema featuring Caffe Umbria coffee. Additional Portland roasters participating include Ole LatteClutchWater Avenue, and Stumptown while McMenamins Coffee, like Modern Times, roasts their own.

This year’s doughnut line-up includes Annie’s, Blue StarCoco DonutsDelicious DonutsDonut Byte LabsHelen Bernhard BakeryJoe’s Donuts from Sandy, Rocking Frog CaféStaccato Gelato, Tonalli’s, and, parked on site making fresh Mexican churros, Churros Locos.

As an all-ages event, a portion of the proceeds will go to Friends of the Children, Portland providing commitment assistance to at-risk youth. For folks needing savory protein, Culmination Kitchen executive chef CJ Mueller will have breakfast food available for sale and several of the roasters will provide complimentary joe.

Pertinent links: Ticketing Merctickets.com/go/BakersDozenPDX ($27 online, $30 at the door if available)
Twitter@BakersDozenPDX.
Visit Culmination Brewing online at CulminationBrewing.com or, y’know, in person at 2117 NE Oregon St.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

On Politics and Beer...

I couldn't find a "political" beer
photo, so here's a beer and a
burrito... 
It was bound to happen sooner or later: I got a direct message on Twitter that said (I'm paraphrasing, here), "Why don't you just post stuff about beer and keep your political opinions to yourself?"

Yeah, I suppose I have gone a little over the edge with my outspoken political opinions lately--you know, ever since HE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED was elected leader of the Free World and our democracy started circling the drain like a giant, orange turd! Current national events have made me a little...concerned. A little...preoccupied. A little...HOLY MOTHER OF MALONEY, WHAT THE F**K JUST HAPPENED? Let's just say I'm feeling a certain sense of urgency that is telling me I need to spend more of my time doing something a tad more proactive than just DRINKING BEER!

Normally, I'd be the first one to say that I don't care what your political leanings are, as long as we can have a nice, friendly beer together. That's what beer is, after all, a wonderful social lubricant that brings people of diverse opinions, cultures, and persuasions together for fun and frivolity. However, these are not normal times. Oh, no, not at all.

Sorry, I can't have a friendly beer with you if you're sitting across the table from me with a MAGA hat perched atop your head. Ain't gonna happen. Nope. Nopitty. Nope. You drew a big, hateful, racist, misogynistic, MEDIEVAL line in the sand, and I ain't crossin' it! Gratefully, I live in the politically progressive city of Portland, Oregon, where most of my neighbors share a similar viewpoint. Hey, I know we have our problems here: police brutality, homelessness, crummy schools, but we certainly aren't building any walls! This is a sanctuary city in a sanctuary state and most of us like it that way.

Last night, a group of Portland craft beer industry leaders put on a little fundraiser for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and raised thousands of dollars from Portland's supportive craft beer fans. The Beer Party PDX is a fledgling community action group with the following mission:

Founded in 2017 in response to the ongoing attacks on civil rights, the environment, and democracy as a whole, Beer Party PDX’s mission is to organize members of the PDX beer community in order to effectively protect and promote basic civil rights including voter access, freedom of speech, and equal rights.
I'm proud to be a founding member of this awesome group and happy that my small contributions added to this successful event. I can promise you that there will be more to come! I can also promise you that as long as our Freedom is threatened by oligarchs, kleptocrats, fascists and morons, I will continue to mix beer and politics. If that's unacceptable to you, it's pretty easy to avoid me! If you feel the same way I do, please join us!

Many of the key principles contained in our Constitution were items first brought up for discussion by American patriots at pubs and mulled over while sipping on tankards of ale. Let's bring that tradition back and take back our nation!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Beer Party PDX Announces First Event: Launch Party!


(PRESS RELEASE)
Fundraiser for the ACLU
Portland, Ore.: Beer Party PDX, a grassroots organization of local industry leaders, is excited to announce their first fundraising event. Coinciding with President’s Day, the event on Monday, February 20, 2017 is intended to increase awareness of civil rights issues and will raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Beer Party PDX’s stated mission is “to organize members of the PDX beer community in order to effectively protect and promote basic civil rights including voter access, freedom of speech, and equal rights.” The founding members include bar and brewery owners, brewers, business consultants, and writers.

The Beer Party PDX Launch Event takes place on Monday, February 20 at participating businesses. 100% of the revenue from donated kegs will go to the ACLU. Participating bars include Bailey’s Taproom, Bazi Bierbrasserie, Beer Mongers, Belmont Station, Imperial, Lombard House, Roscoe’s, Saraveza, The Thirsty Sasquatch, The Upper Lip, Tin Bucket, and Uptown Market. Breweries that have provided kegs include Baerlic, Base Camp, Bull Run Cider, Burnside, Cider Riot!, Coalition, Crooked Fence, Culmination, Double Mountain, Heater Allen, Machine House, Matchless, Montavilla, New Belgium, Ninkasi, Pfriem, Ruse, The Commons, Three Magnets, Uptown Market, and Vertigo.

This is the first of many planned events with the intent of garnering attention for civil rights issues and increasing participation and action on local, statewide, and national levels.

If you would like to participate in a future event, or want to inquire about becoming a member of Beer Party PDX or hosting a Beer Party event, visit www.beerpartypdx.org or email us at beerpartypdx@gmail.com.



About Beer Party PDX:  Founded in 2017 in response to the ongoing attacks on civil rights, the environment, and democracy as a whole, Beer Party PDX’s mission is to organize members of the PDX beer community in order to effectively protect and promote basic civil rights including voter access, freedom of speech, and equal rights.
(A message from me, Wolf Linderman, Beer Guy PDX: I'm proud to be a founding member of this amazing group! Keep an eye out for MORE events to come! Together we can ensure that the Land of the Free remains that way--for everyone! Watch social media for #BeerPartyPDX)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Laurelwood Brewing Company - Belgian Golden Ale

An unFlemished Reputation?
They've been making beer in Belgium for centuries. In fact, some of the oldest, continuously operating breweries in the world are found within the confines of that little nation bordered by France, Germany, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Hey, brewing beer essentially FOREVER means that you've pretty much got that shi..uh..stuff DOWN! I mean, the practice batches were over a long time ago!

It used to be that whenever I would see a Belgian STYLE beer brewed here in the US of A, I would immediately lower my expectations. Typically, the best I could expect was a worthy attempt, the good ol' college try. However, I've sampled quite a few Belgianesque brews lately that definitely did not disappoint! The American Craft Beer industry just keeps getting better and better and now arguably puts out some of the very best beer on the planet, including many Belgian styles.

Tonight, I'm drinking a Belgian (style) Golden Ale brewed by Portland's Laurelwood Brewing Company. The beer comes with an ABV that clocks in at 7.2% and IBU's at 30. I picked up the bomber at New Seasons. I'm not sure, but I believe the 22 oz bomber set me back about five bucks.

The beer poured into my chalice (yes, it's a chalice) a beautiful light, golden orange color. The white head rose up to an inch tall and dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin cap of spotty lacing was left behind. What a pretty beer! Very photogenic, I must say.

Aroma was subtle hints of pear, apple, and clove. Banana. Bready yeast and light malt. Floral and herbal notes.

Taste followed the nose. Apple and pear. Yeast. Grain. Spicy, but no alcohol taste or sting. Hops flavor and mild bitterness in the background.

Medium mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. Flavors livened up as in warmed a bit. Crisp, dry finish. Belgian spice and mild hops flavor left on the palate at the end.

Overall, this is dang tasty Belgian-style beer! It's a  grown-up beer with plenty of flavor and character. Does it stack up side-by-side to a Belgian classic like Duvel? Don't go crazy, but the drinkability and affordability of Laurelwood's Belgian (style) Golden Ale make it a keeper in my book. Good stuff!

I'm giving this one a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. I recommend!




Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ninkasi Brewing Company - R&D Tripel Belgian-Style Tripel Ale

Tripel your pleasure, tripel
your fun...
When I want a Belgian tripel, my go-to is always St. Bernardus. It's virtually flawless. What a fantastic beer. It truly deserves to be sipped from a chalice. It's also not easy to find. And it's expensive. Wouldn't it be nice to have a tasty Belgian-style tripel in my supermarket's cold case at a price that is fairly reasonable? Yes, I think that would by very nice.

The other day, while I was perusing through the beer aisle at my local Green Zebra, I spied a bomber of Ninkasi Brewing Company's R&D Tripel. $8.99 for the 22 ounces. Not exactly cheap, but much less expensive than an actual Belgian tripel of the same size...

Major digression alert! Years ago I found 750ml bottles of Koenigshoeven Trappist beers--three varieties--at Big Lots for a dollar a bottle! I bought three cases. What a deal! Two bottles were flat when I opened them, but otherwise, they were perfect.

Could this locally brewed Belgian-style tripel ale be the answer to my prayers and beer budget woes? Let's Find out!

The beer poured into my St. Bernardus goblet a clear golden orange color with a bubbly white head. The head rose up to about a 1/2 inch tall and dissipated quickly. A thin cap and small ring of foam were left behind. Delicate lacing formed on the glass as I  sipped it down.

Aroma was spot-on Belgian tripel. Belgian yeast. Light grain. Somewhat bready. Banana and clove. Indistinct citrus. Over-ripe fruit--apple and pear. Floral notes. Lots of nice things going on in the nose.

Taste followed the nose. Sweet and fruity, but with a spicy hops bitterness. Not at all cloying. DANG! This beer comes really close. Probably the best Oregon brewed Belgian-style beer I've ever had.

Medium mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. Crisp finish with no hint of alcohol burn in this 9.2% ABV beer.

Overall, this is a wonderful beer! A legitimate representation of the style that I will purchase whenever I find it in the cold case. I'm giving R&D Tripel a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans but with one extra 1/2 can--for a perfect rating--because it's such a unique local find. Thanks, Ninkasi!



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Zwickelmania Expands to Two Weekends


(PRESS RELEASE)

February 18th in Portland and February 25th throughout the state

What
Zwickelmania! Oregon breweries open their doors once again, for this annual February tradition. In 2017, Zwickelmania will take place over two weekends. In Portland, it will be on Presidents' Day weekend on 2/18/17. The rest of Oregon will be celebrating the following weekend on 2/25/17. Over 120 breweries throughout Oregon welcome beer enthusiasts for meet-the-brewer events, tours, and beer tastings.

Where
Throughout Oregon’s beer regions including, but not limited to:
The Portland Metro Area, Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Gorge/Mt. Hood/ Columbia, Southern Oregon, the Coast and the Willamette Valley.
Visit http://www.oregoncraftbeer.org/zwickelmania for a regularly updated list of participating breweries and cities.

When
February 18, 2017 — Portland Metro Area
February 25, 2017 — Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Gorge/Mt. Hood/Columbia, Southern Oregon, the Coast and the Willamette Valley 
o Time: 11am – 4pm, both dates
For more information, head to Oregoncraftbeer.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #Zwickel17.

About The Oregon Brewers Guild
The Oregon Brewers Guild is Oregon’s non-profit trade association for the state’s independent breweries. The Guild, which receives no state funding, comprises 160 brewing companies, 125 associate or supplier members and nearly 4,000 enthusiast members or S.N.O.B.s (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer). For more information, see http://oregoncraftbeer.org/.

About Zwickelmania
Zwickelmania, created by the Oregon Brewers Guild, celebrated its inaugural year in 2009. It takes its name from the zwickel, or sample port which mounts on the outside of fermentation or conditioning tanks and allows brewers to sample for quality assurance and control. Similarly, Zwickelmania offers a unique opportunity to taste beers where they were produced and interact with the brewers who created them.

Gigantic Brewing Company - Mons Meg Scotch Ale

This beer is a BLAST!
Sometimes my beerventures lead to learnin', especially if the lesson is conveniently printed on the label. Mons Meg is the loving moniker given to a famous piece of medieval artillery. It's a 20-inch caliber cannon that made it's home in Edinburgh Castle in Scotland for centuries. Man, that's a big gun, and Gigantic Brewing Company has named its heavy-hitting Scotch Ale Mons Meg as an appropriate tribute.

Mons Meg Scotch Ale comes with an ABV of 8%, according to the label--another artistically stylish Gigantic beer label, of course. The label also advises that this beer is:
"As powerful as its namesake medieval cannon, Mons Meg is brewed with rich Scottish Golden Promise malt. In true Highland fashion, we fire the kettles early for increased caramelization and depth of flavor resulting in a toasty strong Scotch Ale."
 Alrighty then! Let's give this beer a go! Will it be a blast, or a dud? I can't wait to find out!

The beer poured into my glass a dark mahogany with a reddish-amber hue when held up to the light. The off-white head rose up to a finger thick and dissipated quickly. A thin ring of foam and some spotty lace was left behind.

Aroma was roasted malt. Biscuit, toffee and caramel.

Taste followed the nose with a nice touch of hops bitterness. Toasted malt. Hints of toffee and butterscotch. No alcohol taste noted in this 8% ABV beer.

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. Smooth finish. Robust, earthy malt and hops flavors left on the palate at the end.

Overall, this is great beer with plenty of flavor. A nice change up from the Imperial IPA's that typically deliver this kind of punch. I'm giving Mons Meg Scotch Ale a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie. It should actually be a GROWLIE. Merry the Wonder Beagle was vocally harassing me for a whiff of this beer.


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Baerlic Brewing Company - Dark Thoughts Black IPA

It's satanically delicious...
It's another snow day here in Portland, OR. It doesn't snow very often in Stumptown, but when it does, the whole freaking city shuts down. Heck, we only have one snow plow and the denizens of this chintzy burg are some of the worst drivers in the nation. Thus, when the white stuff comes gently floating down from the sky in Portland, it's best to just stay indoors. Gratefully, I have a truckload of tasty craft beer in my fridge. If I had to--absolutely had to--I could jump on a city bus and visit any number of fantastic craft breweries along the route. If they stay open, that is to say, but happily, I'm snug and cozy here at the Shotgun Shack.

Baerlic Brewing is one of the breweries that I can easliy get to by hopping on the 70 bus. It drops me off about a 1/2 block away from their awesome taproom. If you haven't been there, son, then put it on your list! 

Today, I'm drinking a bomber of Baerlic's Dark Thoughts Black IPA. This devilish brew was just released and I do believe I was the first person in the taproom to pick one up yesterday. This Black IPA, or Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA), comes with a 6.66% ABV and 66.6% IBU's. See what they did there? With that pentagram adorning the label, this stuff probably isn't going to appeal to the Moral Majority folks, but they all drink Hamm's or holy water or something, so they don't concern me. How's the beer? Hey, it's awesome!

Dark Thoughts poured into my glass a deep, dark brownish black color with a creamy, clumpy tan head. The head rose up to a full finger thick and dissipated at a moderate rate. A full, thin cap of foam was left behind.

Aroma was citrus hops, tangerine, and grapefruit, with hints of pine and roasted malt in the background.

Taste was a pleasant surprise. If you blindfolded me, I would identify this beer as a straight-up IPA. That's not a complaint. It's a darn tasty IPA. Loads of bitter hops deliciousness. Citrus and pine. The winning note is a subtle, robust, earthy malt flavor. Just a hint of cocoa nibs. Nice!

Medium mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. Smooth finish with the hops and malt flavors taking turns for attention on the palate after each sip.

Overall, this is probably my most favorite example of the style to date, whether you call it a CDA or a Black IPA. Excellent beer, Maynard, and you should go pick one or two up for yourself. Word to the wise: take the bus.

I'm giving Dark Thoughts a BeerGuyPDX ratng of 4 crushed can out of 4.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Baerlic Brewing to Release Dark Thoughts Black IPA Bombers


(PRESS RELEASE)
BAERLIC BREWING COMPANY
NEW! SEASONAL BOMBER BOTTLE RELEASE
 DARK THOUGHTS BLACK IPA
22oz Bottles & Draft
PORTLAND, OREGON - Baerlic Brewing Co. releases the newest beer in their seasonal line-up, Dark Thoughts Black IPA.
  • Thursday, January 5th
  • 4pm
  • Baerlic Brewery & Taproom2235 SE 11th Ave. Portland, OR 97214
To possess Dark Thoughts with the precise amount of pure evil, we cold steep the hell out of roasted wheat for 24-36 hours. By utilizing this slow and torturous process, we’re able to extract the rich chocolate, sweet and fruity flavor compounds while leaving behind the harsh and tannic flavors of the roasted malt—think of rich cold-brewed coffee vs. that of the heartburn-inducing gas station variety.
Dark Thoughts Flavor Profile
    6.66% ABV
    66.6 IBU
    Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale brewed w/ Cold-Steeped Roasted Wheat
    Dryhopped with .666 lbs per barrel each of Columbus & Mosaic Hops
    Pairs devilishly well with upside-down starfruit, leg of lamb and bloodwurst sausage
A classic IPA possessed with a maniacal evil, Dark Thoughts Black IPA is brewed with cold-steeped roasted malts for an eerily smooth darkness and dryhopped with 6.66 lbs each of pungent Columbus & Mosaic hops.
Style History
Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ales are an attempt to marry the dank, citrus and pine characteristics of a classic Northwest IPA with the flavors, aromas and colors of dark roasted malts. With a controversial and sordid history, CDAs are thought to have been first brewed in the Pacific NW, specifically in the area from BC, Canada to Northern California—known as the Republic of Cascadia. They are more commonly referred to as black IPA. 
Currently Available in 22oz bottles and draft in our taproom in SE Portland and at area retailers, bars and bottleshops. Ask for it at your favorite watering hole!