Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Oregon Garden Brewfest Celebrates 12th Year on Father’s Day Weekend

(Photo courtesy of Oregon Garden

Scenic festival announces a number of changes, including relocating into the forest

SILVERTON, Ore. — The 12th annual Oregon Garden Brewfest presented by Venti’s Café will take place June 17 through 19 – Father’s Day weekend – at The Oregon Garden, located at 879 W Main St. in Silverton. The popular Willamette Valley festival will feature 120 handcrafted beers, ciders and mead from 60 different breweries from across the nation. Event hours are 3pm to 11pm Friday, Noon to 11pm Saturday, and Noon to 6pm Sunday.

New this year, the Oregon Garden Brewfest will relocate from its traditional indoor setting out into the forest, where the participating breweries will be set up in booths dotted throughout the woods underneath the warm glow of bistro lights. There will be a number of cozy fire pits and covered areas available for people to gather with family and friends.

“We are so excited to bring Brewfest into the heart of the Garden,” exclaimed Brittney Hatteberg, regional marketing manager for The Oregon Garden. “Guests can take better advantage of the summer weather and explore more of the Garden from this location. It will be a charming experience, and unlike any other beer festival in Oregon.”

Guests are encouraged to take their beer and explore the 80-acres of botanical gardens, which will be in full bloom in June. There will also be live music on one stage under a tent in the forest, allowing guests to hear the music comfortably from a variety of locations. Local act Deadwood Standing will headline the stage Friday night; additional acts will be announced online.

Also new this year, minors will be welcome on Saturday from Noon to 5pm and during all hours on Sunday; on Father's Day, there will be a kid's craft area as well. The new location is closer to the Children's Garden, allowing families to be near the festivities as well as close to entertainment for kids.

Advance admission ranges from $15 for a one-day ticket to $30 for a three-day ticket to $55 for a VIP ticket; door prices increase by $5. All admission packages include a souvenir pint glass and a varying number of tasting tickets. In most instances, a full glass of beer costs four tickets, and a taster costs one; additional tasting tickets may be purchased for $1 apiece. Designated drivers pay $5, which includes a bottle of water, and minors pay $5; children ages four and under are free. Silverton residents receive a discount on Friday with proof of residency. Parking at The Oregon Garden is $5 per car; free shuttles are available from various locations in Silverton. See all ticket pricing information and purchase advance tickets at

The ideal way to enjoy the Brewfest is to book a room at the Oregon Garden Resort, a Moonstone Hotel Property located just steps away from the festival. Brewfest Packages starts at $269 and include accommodation, two three-day admission passes to Brewfest with a tasting glass and five tasting tickets, a continental buffet breakfast and admission to The Oregon Garden. Packages can be booked at or by calling 503-874-2500

The Oregon Garden Brewfest is presented by Venti’s Café and sponsored by Country Financial, Goschie Farms Imperial Bottle Shop, Oregon Beer Growler and Portland General Electric. For more information, visit

Twitter: @TheOregonGarden
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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Heathen Brewing Company - Kevlar IIPA

Ridiculously bulletproof...
Recently, I've been reading a number of articles, in magazines and on the interwebs, heralding the death of that most popular craft beer style and my personal favorite: the India Pale Ale. These pathetic smear pieces whine on and on about those mean ol', bitter hoppy brews that make wimpy beer drinkers cry and hold their delicate, wounded jaws like somebody just made them drink battery acid. 

Wah, wah, wah! What a big bunch of babies! I'm also pretty sure these articles were written by people who really don't like beer--unless it tastes like wine. Don't get me started about wine.

Well, I'm here to tell ya, folks, that while I am thrilled other craft beer styles are getting more attention and making it into more shopping carts, the IPA ain't goin' nowhere! Nowhere except into my always appreciative belly, anyway! Truthfully, nine times out of ten, I'll be found drinking an IPA instead of any other style of beer. I am a self-proclaimed hophead, and proud of it.

Gratefully, I live in the Pacific Northwest, where a huge amount of the world's hops are grown, and where local brewers have an abundant appreciation for...the abundance of hops. 

There are so many fantastic IPA's brewed right here in my own Oregon backyard that I often forget about some of the butt-kickin' breweries just across the river in Washington State. Oh, yeah, my Cascadian brothers and sisters to the north put out some world-class beers and a healthy dose of those are my beloved IPA's. Today, I'm drinking and reviewing one. May I present to you, ladies and gents, Kevlar IIPA from Heathen Brewing Company in beautiful Vancouver, Washington.

This Imperial IPA comes with an ABV of 9.0%, 100 IBU's and was brewed with Amarillo and Columbus Hops. I picked up a bottle from the brewery where they have an amazing number of taps for free tastes and economical growler fills. Heathen also operates their Feral Brew Pub in downtown Vancouver. The pub also has a ridiculous number of taps and some of the best pub grub around. (Get the brussels sprouts appetizer--I know, brussels sprouts, but trust me on this one.)

Kevlar IIPA poured from bomber into my IPA glass a slightly cloudy, golden orange color with a bright white, foamy, creamy head. That head dissipated slowly and left behind copious amounts of clumpy foam and lacing. What a beautiful beer. Check out that photo. Almost too pretty to drink...Ha! Who am I kidding? I polished that baby off in five minutes!

Aroma was a citrus hops bomb of orange, tangerine and grapefruit. Hints of resinous pine. Tropical fruit: mango and pineapple. Caramel malt. Some herbaceous, floral notes in the background. A lovely olfactory delight, this one!

Taste followed the nose. Hops bitterness was present and accounted for. Citrus, pine, tropical fruit. Any hops aficionado will appreciate this beer. Sweet, caramel malt balanced well against the bitter hops. A bit of herbal spiciness in there. Quite a medley of complex flavors that I've found in other brews that have masterfully utilized Amarillo hops. Nice!

Medium mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. Semi-dry finish. No hint of alcohol. This is a surprisingly easy drinker for a 9% IIPA.

Overall, this is my kind of beer. It's like they brewed this seasonal just for me. I would drink this one again and again, I'm awarding a perfect score of 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND the coveted Droolie. Not many beers perk up Merry the Wonder Beagle nowadays, but Kevlar IIPA sure did.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hopworks Releases GEAR UP IPA as a Year Round Six-Pack


(Graphic courtesy of Hopworks)
Today Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) announced the addition of a new beer to their year-round lineup. Gear Up IPA, a Northwest-Style IPA with an ultra-tropical hop profile, represents HUB’s first 12 oz. six pack can. Six-packs release in mid-April throughout HUB’s distribution channels in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Utah and western Canada. The beer is currently available as a popular draft offering at both Hopworks brewpubs and at craft beer bars in Oregon and Washington.

From the recipe to the can artwork, every element of Gear Up IPA is meant to celebrate the majestic region HUB calls home. The beer is brewed with organic malted barley from Oregon, naturally filtered water from the Bull Run Watershed, and local hops from Oregon and Washington. The label portrays abstract landscapes of the Pacific Northwest sprinkled with images of the gear required to get outside and explore the natural world. The can was designed by Jolby & Friends, recognized throughout Portland for their NW-inspired patterns and illustrations.

“After a long day outdoors, everyone loves kicking back and cracking open an IPA. We brewed Gear Up IPA to be at the top of everyone’s Essential Gear List,” says Christian Ettinger, Hopworks Brewmaster and Founder. “Everyone at Hopworks loves this delicious beer and the way it inspires us to wander. We think you’ll like it too.”

Gear Up IPA is light-bodied, golden in color with clean, moderate bitterness. The beer is built to provide a direct line to a complex hop profile of ripe passionfruit, pineapple, and mango that balances dank hop aromas and flavors. Gear Up IPA is 6.2% ABV and 65 IBUs.

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 13,500 barrels of beer and cider 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 the Best Green Companies To Work For In Oregon. Learn more online at

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Against The Grain Brewery - The Brown Note

Just because you CAN, doesn't
mean you SHART...
Wow, I just don't know where to begin... Let's see, I was beer shopping at Portland's Belmont Station bottle shop today, perusing the aisles, checking out the new-to-me brews, when my eyes fell on a can of Against The Grain Brewery's The Brown Note.

What the hell? What? The? HELL? Wow, I think it's the very first beer can I've even seen with such a prominent scatological reference... Yup, there's a cartoon depiction of some hairy dude's backside with a serious case of mud butt. Skidmarks. Sharts. Hersey squirts. Hey, call it whatever you want, that's a poopy pair of chonies, right there.

Oh, Lord, that has got to be the most disturbing label art I've ever encountered. Just I HAD to buy a can. I just had to! No way was I going to walk out of that store without one! In the very least, I would have that perfect, singular, gleeful moment when I pulled it out of the fridge and told my wife, "Look what I bought today!"

Heh, heh, or maybe I should just leave the can sitting there between the butter and the yogurt and let her discover it for herself...

Hey, I know what you're thinking...does it really taste like...well, you know. Let's find out, shall we?

The beer poured from the cheeky one pint can into my glass a true brown color with a reddish hue when held up to the light. Creamy, mocha head that dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin ring and some spotty lacing were left behind. Good looking beer.

Aroma was biscuity malt with some coffee and cocoa notes. Roasted nuts. Toffee.

Taste followed the nose. Toasted nuts. Earthy, bready malt. Coffee and cocoa. Sweet caramel but with some decent hops bitterness to round it out nicely.

Medium mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Smooth finish with the earthy, toasted malt flavor left pleasantly behind on the palate at the end. Nice!

Here's proof that you really can't judge a book--or beer--by the cover. There's absolutely nothing sh*tty about The Brown Note. I like it! This is a respectable beer and if you can get around the poopy can art, I recommend you give it a whirl...or swirl. Whatever. I'm giving The Brown Note a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.