Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Modern Times Beer & Great Notion Brewing (Collaboration) - Fortunate Sun IPA

I ain't no millionaire's son, but
I can drink like one...
The New England IPA... What is it? Where did it really come from? Is it a fad? Is it a bona fide beer style? Is it a mistake? I'm not really sure, but these cloudy brews certainly are popular and show no sign of going away anytime soon--and that's a good thing. Beer Advocate has proclaimed the Hazy, juicy, NEIPA a legitimate beer style, so I suppose I better get on board.

Truthfully, I'm just kidding around. My neighborhood brewery, Great Notion Brewing, has been turning me on to the delights of the NEIPA style ever since they opened their doors. Their amazing offerings like Ripe, Juice Box and Juice Jr. are murky masterpieces. Thus, I think you can imagine my delight when I discovered a collaboration between Great Notion and San Diego's Modern Times in the cold case of my local bottleshop. OH, YEAH! Life is full of awesome surprises!

Fortunate Sun IPA comes in a pint-sized can. The description on Untappd goes as follows:

"The second collaborative brew of the year with our friends at Great Notion Brewing, this 7% hazy IPA was massively dosed with Citra and Amarillo before receiving an exotic twist with the addition of Australian Galaxy hops."
The beer poured into my glass a hazy, opaque, golden yellow color with a foamy, bright white head. The head rose up to a 1/2 inch tall and dissipated at a moderate rate. Light, spotty lacing was left behind. This beer looked thick pouring into the glass, I must say. It appeared to have the same viscosity as orange juice.

Aroma was an immediate juicy blast of citrus, pine, and tropical fruit. Orange, Tangerine, pineapple, mango, stone fruit. Biscuity malt in the background.

Taste followed the nose. This IPA has all the flavors. Dank pine. Tropical fruit. Citrus. All very well balanced against mild hops bitterness and malt that didn't get lost in the mix.

Medium mouthfeel with a smooth, creamy finish. Just a bit of a chew to it at the end, but not a tonsil coater by any stretch.

Overall, this is the epitome of the NEIPA style. Hazy, murky, cloudy. Juicy, juicy, juicy. I highly recommend and will probably head down the street to see if they have it on tap at Great Notion in a few minutes. Excellent beer and I'm giving it a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND a Droolie. The Wonder Beagle drooling up a puddle the second I cracked Fortunate Sun open.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rogue Ales - Santa's Private Reserve 2017

It's beginning to taste a lot
like Christmas...
Is it just me or does anybody else feel like Christmas snuck up on you and kicked you square in the butt? What the heck! Christmas is only 11 days away and I don't have a tree, decorations or presents bought yet! I'm doomed! I didn't even put together my annual Beer Guy PDX Gift Guide! I'm about to climb up on the roof of the ol' Shotgun Shack and shout HUMBUG at the top of my lungs. 


I also have a fridge full of Christmas beers and Winter Warmers to drink. Some of these beers are regular seasonals that I look forward to quaffing every December. What's the matter with me?

Gratefully, Oregon's own Rogue Ales sent me a little surprise package that shook off some of the doldrums. The mailman, who typically only brings me bills and bad news, showed up with a box marked "FRAGILE" yesterday. (That's pronounced  "FRA-GEE-LAY" for any of you not familiar with A Christmas Story. FRA-GEE-LAY. It's Italian.) Inside, I found a bomber of Rogue's 2017 Santa's Private Reserve AND a nifty glass. Yay! Christmas!

Santa's Private Reserve 2017 is a Belgian Strong Ale brewed with Belgian Candi Sugar, Cherries and Raspberries. ABU at 7.8% and 23 IBU. 

The beer poured into my glass an opaque, dark brown/amber color with a creamy, thick, tan head. The head rose up to more than two inches tall because I over-poured it (see above photo of my lame pouring skills) but it dissipated slowly and left copious clumps of lacing behind throughout the drink.

Aroma was sweet malt, chocolate and fruit. Cherries and berries as advertised.

Taste followed the nose. Sweet but not cloying. A nice balance of sweet and sour. Cherries and raspberry flavors with a hint of chocolate. No off-putting flavors or weird phenols like I'm often afraid I'll find in big beers brewed with fruit. Everything tastes fresh and natural in this beer. I like!

Medium to slightly full mouthfeel. Smooth, creamy finish. Pleasant malt and fruit flavors left mingling on the palate at the end. Quite a pleasant sipper with little or no alcohol detected. Nice!

Overall, this is a great Christmas/Holiday Season beer. Quite a delicious beer to casually sip on while the holidays flash by. I'm giving Santa's Private Reserve 2017 a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.

BridgePort Brewing Company - Tiny Horse Pilsner

Yeah, it's a Portland thing...
My little house in NE Portland is probably close to 100 years old. I call it The Shotgun Shack, and that's not just me trying to be ironic. The place literally IS a shotgun shack--one of those little houses where you could open the front and back doors and fire a shotgun through it without hitting anything. Well, almost. My Shotgun Shack is a bit more substantial (but not by much) and we love living here. 

There's a massive Douglas Fir in the front yard and an old cherry tree that still produces fruit. Both trees are probably as old as the house. When the weather is nice, I string a hammock up in the yard. You can find me out there most summer days with a tasty local beer perched on my belly. (The neighbors LOVE that, especially with their fancy AirBnB customers rolling through every day.)

Portlanders used to take a lot of pride in the old neighborhoods. I suppose most still do but with the recent population explosion and seemingly unchecked development, things are definitely changing. Last week, somebody chopped down a Doug Fir about the same size as ours on the next block over, apparently to make way for a set of condos. Grrrr.

One cool thing about our neighborhood and many of the others surrounding us is the existence of horse rings in the curbs. Many newcomers are initially confused by the rings and confounded by their presence. Transplants often come from places like Van Nuys, CA that were developed long after horses were used as the primary mode of transportation.
Ring-a-ding, ding!

These rings were mounted in the curbs when they were first built more than 100 years ago. Back then, most deliveries were made by horse-drawn wagons. Those rings provided a firm anchor for people like your milkman to tie up his horse while dropping off your milk and eggs. Yes, that was a real thing, too!

The rings remained an unused vestige of an era gone by until Portlanders started tying tiny model horses to the rings. Just keeping it weird, Portland! Or in this case, keeping it cute and kitschy. We actually had a tiny horse tethered to the ring in front of our house for a while, but of course, somebody stole it. Just keeping it sketchy, Portland!

That was certainly a long, rambling introduction to a beer review, but it's pertinent. Today's  beer is BridgePort Brewing Company's Tiny Horse Pilsner. The beer's name was inspired by those Portland horse rings and the tiny horse fad that followed.

The beer poured into my pilsner glass a clear, bright, straw yellow with a white,  bubbly head that dissipated quickly. Thin spots of lacing were left behind.

Aroma was grain, yeast, and lemony hops.

Taste was what you would expect from a pilsner with just a bit more of a hops punctuation mark at the end of each sip. BridgePort's website advises that Sterling, Crystal, Cascade and Saaz hops were used and I definitely appreciated this hopped-up pilsner. Lemony, slightly grassy, slightly herbal. Clean malt finish. I like!

Thin to medium mouthfeel. Lively carbonation. Refreshing.

Overall, I found Tiny Horse Pilsner to be a very quaffable, pleasant drink. This isn't often my style of beer, but on the occasion that I'm looking for a thirst quencher, this would be a respectable pick. On the BeerGuyPDX scale, I'm giving this one a rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Reuben's Brews - Roasted Rye IPA

Along for the rye'd?
I've been regularly toasting a small, unorganized group of beer nerds on Twitter. Somebody drinks a beer, takes a picture of said beer and tweets a photo out to the rest of the crew. This morning, I proclaimed today #RyeTuesday. I seriously doubt any of the other folks will drink a rye beer, but I made the commitment, dammit!

Recently, I've become a fan of Reuben's Brews out of Seattle, Washington. Every one of their beers that I've tried so far has been excellent. Good stuff, Maynard! I spotted their Roasted Rye IPA in the cold case of my local bottleshop yesterday and decided that it would be the perfect subject of my #RyeTuesday tweet. Is it? Let's find out!

The label declares Roasted Rye IPA to be a "winter warmer India pale ale." Here's what Reuben's Brews' website had to say about this beer:

"ABV: 7.0% IBU: 80+
Citrus and tangerine in the nose, supported by chocolate, roast & caramel, with a full and warming mouthfeel. The best of an India Pale Ale and a winter warmer wrapped into one brew."
The beer poured into my pint glass a clear, deep, ruddy amber color with a thick, clumpy, off-white head. The head rose up to two inches thick and dissipated slowly. Thin, webby lacing was left behind on the glass and a thin spotty cap remained throughout the entire drink.

Aroma was sweet malt and toasted grain. Indistinct citrus hops with chocolate and caramel notes, as advertised.

Taste was less citrus hops than the nose belied and definitely malt forward. Roasted, toasted maltiness with the spicy, herbal notes of rye. Some pine and light fruity flavors in the mix. This is a big malt beer. I'm not so sure I would call it an IPA. Definitely a winter warmer, though.

Medium mouthfeel with a smooth, creamy finish. Good carbonation. Spicy rye finish.

Overall, this is a terrific beer. I really like it. I'm giving Roasted  Rye IPA a very respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. I would definitely drink it again.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Loowit Brewing Company - Super Shinobi Triple IPA

Perfect beer for a ninja or two?
Here's a tip for any beer tourists out there currently planning a trip to Beervana, aka Portland, Oregon. Set aside a day for a trip across the river to our sleepy neighbor to the North, Vancouver, Washington. Vancouver breweries have really come into their own. They are brewing all kinds of awesomeness up that way and one of my favorites is Loowit Brewing. Their beers are great and their labels are super cool. Speaking of super cool, tonight's beer is Loowit's Super Shinobi TRIPLE IPA. Let's get right to the imbibing!

Super Shinobi poured into my IPA glass a clear orange/amber color with a creamy, off-white--almost tan--head that rose up to more than two fingers thick and dissipated slowly. Copious patches of webby lacing were left behind all over the glass. 

Aroma was sweet caramel malt and indistinct citrus hops right up front. Hints of tropical and stone fruit and resinous pine in the background, but that malt aroma is the star of the show.

Flavor followed the nose, with plentiful rounds of sweet caramel malt, citrus and piney hops alternating across my tongue. Nice! A bit of grapefruit pith. Notes of tropical and stone fruit. Resinous pine lingered on the palate after every sip. Super nice! Not your typical PNW IPA hops profile, though, as there was a hint of grassy, spicy, herbaceousness lurking in the mix.

Medium mouthfeel with a slightly creamy finish. Surprising lack of alcohol taste for a beer with  11% ABV. Yoink! This one is dangerously easy to drink. Zero harsh. 

Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable triple IPA with an excellent malt/hops balance. I like! Ha, it's different enough that I might even be able to pick it out of a crowd, even with my rudimentary taste buds. Good stuff, Loowit, and I'm giving Super Shinobi a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4. This brew also earns the coveted Droolie. Merry the Wonder Beagle perked right up from a late dinner nap when the aroma wafted in her general direction.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Reuben's Brews - Life on Mars Imperial India Pale Ale

Cold Case Space Invader?
Has anybody else noticed that there seems to be a significant lull in the number of new beers offered at the supermarket? I wonder what that's all about? I'm thinking perhaps there are now SO many popular local beers that the empty space in the cold case is getting mighty sparse. I find myself in the specialty bottleshops more and more, especially when I'm looking for a new release.

Now, more than ever, it's nice to find a new-to-me beer in the supermarket cold case. It's a special surprise!  Recently, I found a bomber of Reuben's Brews Life on Mars Imperial IPA at Green Zebra Grocery. $6.99 for the 22 ounces. Hey! That's a decent price.

Reuben's Brews is stationed up in Seattle, Washington. I've had a few of their beers and I've  been very impressed with those. Thus, I was pretty enthusiast about drinking their IIPA. How was it, you ask? Let's get to it...

Life on Mars poured into my glass a deep, clear orange/amber color with a foamy white head that rose up to more than two fingers thick with no coaxing. Thick, webby lacing was left all over the glass after the head slowly dissipated.

Aroma was citrus and pine. Sweet caramel malt. Hints of ripe mango in the background. Nice!

Taste followed the nose. Sweet malt balanced nicely against some big, bitter hops. Flavors of orange, tangerine, tropical and stone fruit. Resinous pine. Excellent!

Medium mouthfeel with a smooth, clean finish. Both malt and hops flavors took turns reannouncing themselves on the palate after every sip.

This Reuben's Brews website describes this IIPA as follows:


Life on Mars certainly has the malt profile of a red ale. ABV comes in at 8.2% but I didn't get any hint of booze or alcohol sting. Overall, this a stellar brew. I would drink it anytime if found on a tap list. I'm giving this one a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4. Good stuff!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

First Annual Portland Gloom Fest 2017!

Who's ready for Gloom Fest '17?
The assignment presented to the group of beer bloggers seemed easy enough: create and design your own BEER FESTIVAL! Hell, I've dreamed about that for years! DECADES! So why couldn't I think of anything to write? Why did I sit there staring at my blank computer screen for hours? Days? Writer's block? Nah, I'd actually have to be a writer for that to be the case. I pondered and pondered, stroking my unkempt, wizened beard, as I stared glumly out at the gray, dreary, November sky. The leaves endlessly falling into my yard. The rain drizzling, drizzling, drizzling... THAT'S IT! Seasonal Affective  Disorder! I'd solved the riddle of my doldrums AND come up with the perfect Portland beer festival!

Welcome to PORTLAND GLOOM FEST! (This festival is particularly appropriate, given that the topic of this assignment was created by beer writer extraordinaire, Brian Yaeger, who recently relocated from Portland to...Santa Goddamn You Brian Barbara.) Now that I've taken a fistful of Sunny Gummies, I'm ready to create my fest!

Here are ALL the details:

SIZE: The Portland Gloom Fest should remain a small event of fewer than 500 participants. Why? More than 500 people and you've got a PARTY! Portlanders are just too damn resourceful and I have no doubt that they will always find a way to have a good time if enough people are involved.

BEER STYLES: Typically, a free-for-all is not advisable when it comes to the beer styles allowed at a beer festival, but this is Gloom Fest. My initial thought is that the beers involved should not be for beer newbies. No session beers, no hefeweizens, no fizzy, yellow, wussy beers. Gloomy Portlanders need something to remind them that their taste buds are still alive when the winter gloom REALLY sets in. Gloom Fest beers need to be dank, bitter and nasty, just like my soul after 97 days of continuous rain. I want to see ridiculous IBU's in those IPA's. Barleywine Ales with enough ABV to get an elephant drunk. Russian Imperial Stouts with the viscosity of motor oil. Bringing a chile beer to Gloom Fest? It better ring up on the Scoville Scale at around 250k. I think you get the idea.

The perfect beer fest for
a case of the SADs...
LOCALS ONLY: Needless to say, this is a locals only affair. The last thing we need is some beer tourist from a sunny clime mucking the whole thing up with their chipper disposition and sun-evened complexion. Breweries need to be local, too, but we'll accept offerings from our brothers in gloom over in Vancouver, WA. They understand the necessity of a tightly clinched hoodie in the deep throes of a Pacific Northwest winter.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: It shouldn't be too difficult to find an empty, burnt out old warehouse down by the river--not all of them have been turned into high-end condos yet. A damp, moldy tent set up at the Oaks Amusement Park could also fill the bill. As long as the roof leaks, we should be good to go! Of course, the third or fourth week of December would be an ideal time for Gloom Fest. The Winter Solstice is on December 21st, which is a Thursday this year. True seasonal depression should be just getting a deep footing in the psyches of most PDX denizens right around that time. Too bad the corrupt and incompetent officials of Multnomah County already sold the abandoned Wapato Corrections Facility. That would have been a swell location for Gloom Fest!

GLASSWARE: Bring your own Mason Jar and get 50% off admission! Free Sharpees will be provided so you can add your own damn logo. This is Gloom Fest. Nobody is going to design some awesome logo just so the City of Portland can try to steal it from us! Hells no!

ADMISSION: I don't know about you, but I don't like expensive beer festivals. Gloom Fest admission is FREE! (I know, that kind of takes the "deal" out of the 50% off deal for bringing your own glass, but life's a bitch, then you move to Portland and die.) Taster tickets are $1. Need to leave and come back? I will personally draw a unicorn on your goddamned face with one of those Sharpees. Designated drivers? Of course! We'll have special NOT DRINKING wristbands for your long-suffering, beer-hating bestie or significant other that you selfishly and mercilessly drag along to every beer festival, you schmuck, you.

Man! I don't know about you, but I'm getting really excited about Gloom Fest! I'm all a-tingle! It's either excitement or the two Monster Energy drinks I mixed with a lager and  used to  wash down my high blood pressure meds. Either way, I'm psyched! I hope you are, too! See you at the Portland Gloom Fest!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Is the City of Portland a BEER BULLY?

Old Town Brewing's Leaping Stag
logo on a delicious IPA.
Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat, I am NOT a fan of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. Hey, I voted for the guy, but it seems like he's been trying his damnedest to make me regret checking that checkbox since the day he took office. In my opinion, Wheeler has provided zero effective leadership AND he has proven time and time again that he is woefully out of touch with his constituents. 

I could go on and on about how Wheeler has fouled things up by choosing the wrong side during the alt-right protests this year, (Psst, Ted, Nazis are bad and you should tell them to stay the f**k out of Portland.) but recently, Wheeler has gotten into my own personal wheelhouse by trying to screw over a Portland craft beer mainstay, Old Town Brewing.

OH, NO, HE DIDN'T! Yeah, he did. WTF, Wheeler? Don't you know that craft beer helped make the City of Portland the tourist destination that it is today? Do you not understand what side your proverbial bread is buttered on? Do you really want to be One Term Ted?

I first read about the dirty dealing that the City of Portland is doing to Old Town in an article posted by Jeff Alworth in his Beervana blog. Read all about it HERE. In a nutshell, Old Town has owned the trademark rights to Portland's Leaping Stag logo for the past five years. I talked to Old Town's owner Adam Milne today and he told me that he has been engaged in a legal battle over the logo with the City of Portland for the past two years. Yes, that predates Mayor Wheeler's tenure in office, but it certainly appears he has no intention of reversing the ridiculous course the city is taking on this issue.

Milne advises that he only wants to maintain the exclusivity of the Leaping Stag logo for beer and other alcoholic drinks. The City of Portland wants total control of the logo to sell it to the highest bidder--now hold on to your hats, Portland craft beer peeps--including BUDWEISER! I ask you, is Portland, Oregon a BUD TOWN? Nope, nope, nopiti-nope! The last thing I want to see is the Leaping Stag affixed to a bottle of Bud Light. We're talking Oregon beer SACRILEGE! I'm pretty sure Mayor Wheeler and his toadies downtown have no idea how offensive that would be. I'm also sure they sip on $500 bottles of wine up in some Penthouse eatery, as they look down at the unwashed, beer drinking masses.

This really is a case of bureaucratic bullying of the worst kind. The City of Portland intends to win a war of attrition, even though they have lost every legal challenge on the issue thus far. They simply plan to fight until Old Town Brewing can no longer afford to defend itself. 

I'm taking this personally because the folks at Old Town Brewing are NICE. I consider them to be my neighbors--because they are. The Old Town location is minutes away from my Lloyd District office by MAX and I eat lunch there all the time. The MLK location is a short bus ride from my Alberta Street home address. This isn't a nameless, faceless, giant corporation that doesn't give a crap about our town. They are good people who greet me warmly when I walk through the door. The money I spend at Old Town goes right back into OUR community. That means something to me. I think it should mean something to you, too. Sadly, it doesn't seem to matter one iota to the fat cats at City Hall.

I called the Mayor's "Opinion Line" today and left a message detailing my displeasure with the city's bullying of one of our upstanding craft breweries. I would implore you to do the same. The number is 503-823-4127. Let Wheeler know that the city's position on this issue will not stand and could very well result in some changes in leadership next term.

That Leaping Stag logo doesn't belong on any beer except one brewed by Old Town. I'm not sure how much money the City of Portland believes it can scoop into the coffers by effectively stealing the logo for their slimy exclusive branding scheme, but that's absolutely not the Portland way. Perhaps a few protest parties in front of Ted's house are in order? I think I know where we could get a few kegs...

Friday, October 27, 2017

Santiam Brewing Co. & Salem Ale Works (Collab) - Two-Faced Collusionator Stout

If I could write a dossier...
Okay, first things first: I freaking LOVE the name of this beer! Two-Faced Collusionator is the best name for a Russian Imperial Stout EVER! Thanks to the witty nomenclature, this brew is as topical as it is tasty. Two-Faced Collusionator... try saying it with a Boris Badenov accent.

This beer is a collaboration between Salem Ale Works and Santiam Brewing Company, both stationed out of the capital of this great beer state of Oregon: Salem. I purchased the pint-sized can at Green Zebra Grocery for $3.99. Deal! If Two-Faced Collusionator is any indication of how well these two breweries work together, I'm looking forward to many future collaborations. It's good stuff, Maynard! Let's get right to the review, since I'm WAY out of practice...

The beer poured into my glass a deep, dark, dark brown (almost black) color with a rich, creamy, mocha-colored head. This stuff is opaque! Ain't no light getting through there! The head rose up to a full finger thickness and lasted a good, long time. A thin cap of lacing was left behind when the suds finally dissipated.

Aroma was burnt coffee, chocolate and some booze. Hints of vanilla and licorice.

Taste followed the nose. Abundant coffee and bitter, dark chocolate flavors. Rich, roasted malt. Vanilla and a touch of licorice. Molasses. Dark, dried fruit: cherries and figs. Booze without any alcohol burn. Bet this would barrel age like something awesome. Hope they have some sitting on some wood somewhere.

Smooth, medium mouthfeel with a bit of a sticky to it. Feels elegantly creamy on the palate at the finish. Very much noticeable alcohol bite to this 9% ABV brew, but no harsh.

Overall, this is an easy sipper. The flavors really pop as it warms up. I highly recommend this one. I'm going to put a couple away to celebrate the impeachment. I'm giving Two-Faced Collusionator a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans out of 4.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The FIRST RULE About Portland Craft Beer...

I've got a secret.
Do you know that the author of Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk, lives in Portland? It's true! He's one of Stumptown's most famous residents. Hey, I don't know the guy but the famous line from his book (and subsequent cult classic film) about the First Rule of Fight Club seems so quintessential...Portland:
"The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB!"
It took me a while to figure this out,  but here in Portland, talking too much about a good thing is certain to ruin it. I think that's especially true with craft beer, or more specifically, places to drink craft beer. We've all seen it happen: we have a favorite taproom, pub or dive bar--an awesome neighborhood joint that has a chill atmosphere and plenty of stool real estate--and the next thing you know some asshole blogger raves about the place and it ends up on goddamned Thrillist's Best of or GQ's I'd Tap That and the whole thing is over. OVER!

How many times has this happened to you? You haplessly saunter in to get a tasty cold one after work and find your former favorite watering hole packed to the rafters with tourists wearing those brand new 10 Barrel t-shirts and bragging that they just motored up from Sumfolk, Someplace with a case of Pliny and dinner reservations at the très populaire restaurant that you can no longer afford. ARRGH!

Hey, don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing tourists. That's the Portland Mercury's job. Tourists bring a lot o' bucks into our local economy. In many ways, the tourism boom here in Oregon's weirdest city is responsible for the vibrant craft beer culture that we all enjoy. Still, sometimes, I find myself waxing nostalgic for the good old days, and by good old days, I often mean last month. Yes, I want the great pubs, taprooms and bars I frequent to succeed. Yes, I want those stalwart publicans and brewers to get filthy rich. I just wish there was a way for that to happen without the seething throngs of beer tourists lined up 10 deep at the bar, keeping me from getting my drank on!

I have to admit that I am now very, very judicious when it comes to recommending local drinking emporiums. I have a tourist list and a don't you f**king tell another living soul list. If you're cool and I can trust you not to put my favorite spot on the social media blast, I'll gladly share the latter with y'all. Otherwise, it's a secret I'm taking with me to the grave--or at least until their happy hour prices get jacked up or they get trendy and take the tots off the menu. My loyalty is pretty much as thin as my wallet. That's quintessential Portland, too.

One thing is certain, Portland is changing fast. I've lived in NE Portland for almost 10 years and I used to take regular business trips up here for many years before that. (Yes, I used to be a dreaded beer tourist my own damn self.) I fell in love with this town, not because of the magnificent craft beer, but because of the generous collective spirit of its denizens. I was really only kidding about keeping the best drinking spots to myself. I'll keep on truthfully sharing whenever asked--well, maybe not about the place I'm headed to this evening. That's a secret...

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Baerlic Brewing Co. Presents DAY OF THE DEAD BEER




Your favorite Baerlic Beers back from the dead!! Come celebrate beers from years past! Seance starts at 6pm on Saturday, October 28th.

Over the last few years, we have brewed an insane amount of different beers—some good, some bad and some ugly! As an homage to the times we think we nailed it, we are bringing some crowd favorites back from the dead.

PRIMEVAL NW BROWN ALE - This amped up American Brown Ale is dryhopped with Centennial hops and bursts with aromas of evergreen, cocoa & sweet orange that dance with biscuit, roast and malty sweetness with bittersweet chocolate and citrus.

DeLOREAN WHEAT IPA - Brewed with Mosaic, Citra and Chinook hops, DeLorean jumps out of the glass with ginormous aromas of crisp pine, blueberry and tropical citrus in a fluffy and dry wheat finish.

BANANA STAND BLACK HEFEWEIZEN - Originally brewed in collaboration with Gigantic Brewing Company, Banana Stand is a traditional German Hefeweizen brewed w/ cold steeped roasted wheat. Aromas of banana & chocolate give way to a crackery body that finishes bright, fruity & spearminty. It's the George Daddy of beer!

GREAT GRANDPA's BREAKFAST - Our Black Grove Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout infused with cocoa nibs and a touch of maple syrup. And just like Great Grandpa himself, it’s a lot meaner than it looks.

OLD BLOOD & GUTS BARLEYWINE 2014 - Brewed in the year of our founding in 2014, this bad mamma jamma of a beer is aging beautifully. Brown Sugar, mollasses and dark fruit that finishes dry with a subtle alcohol spice that lingers…think of it as a big ‘ol cuddly bear hug of a beer.

Baerlic Brewing Company is located at 2235 SE 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214.

Holiday Ale Festival Announces Lineup for 22nd Annual Event

(Photo coutesy of Holiday Ale Festival)

PORTLAND, Ore. – The 22nd annual Holiday Ale Festival will take place Nov. 29 through Dec. 3 at Pioneer Courthouse Square, located at 701 SW Sixth Ave. (the event annually starts the Wednesday following Thanksgiving). The Northwest’s only outdoor winter beer festival – which is tented and heated – will feature 55 craft beers, ciders and meads in the main lineup, all of which are made or blended specifically for the event. 

In addition, the festival will also feature a number of Meet the Brewer events and dozens of specialty and rare beer tappings. The Holiday Ale Festival is highly regarded as presenting one of best lineups of winter beers and ciders anywhere in the nation. 

What makes this festival standout from other similar events is the selection: the festival works with every brewery involved to make sure they send a product that has either been made or blended specifically for the event, or is a rare or vintage beer that isn't commonly tapped in the state. (See the bottom of this press release for the 2017 list of participants)

Despite being held outdoors during one of the coldest months of the year, more than 14,000 festival attendees stay dry throughout the five-day festival under clear-topped tents warmed by gas heaters. An elaborate scaffolding design creates a second level for the venue, dubbed the Sky Bar, which serves additional taps and provides ample elbow room for attendees to relax, spread out and even peek at the revelers below. 

To enter and consume beer, the purchase of an entry package is required. Advance general admission costs $35 and includes the 2017 tasting glass – a flexible BPA & BPS-free polymer “glass” – and 14 taster tickets, plus expedited entry all five days with the print at home ticket. General admission at the door is the same price, but includes only 12 tickets and no expedited entry. Advance VIP packages cost $100 and include the tasting glass, 30 taster tickets, special VIP beer lines with little to no waiting, exclusive VIP only vintage beers, bottled water, and express entry all five days. VIP tickets are limited to 250 and are not available at the door. Advance tickets are available at www.holidayale.com beginning Oct. 20. 

Once inside the festival, most full pours costs four tickets, and a taster costs one ticket. Certain limited release and special tappings may not be available in full pours, or may cost extra tickets. Additional taster tickets can be purchased for $1 apiece. Previous years’ mugs or glasses will not be filled. Express re-entry requires a wristband and the 2017 tasting glass, and is subject to the festival's capacity. 

Designated drivers in a party of two or more may purchase a designated driver wristband for $10, which includes Crater Lake Soda or bottled water for the duration of the stay. One hundred percent of the money raised by the DD program, as well as from the onsite coat and bag check and the Crater Lake Soda Garden, is donated to the Children’s Cancer Association’s MyMusicRx Program, which delivers the healing power of music to the bedsides of children and teens facing cancer and other serious illnesses. 

There will also be two food vendors, as well as self-guided cheese and beer pairings. Event hours are 11am to 9:30pm Wednesday through Saturday, and 11am to 5pm Sunday. To avoid lengthy lines, the festival encourages patrons to attend Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. The Holiday Ale Festival is for ages 21 and over. 

For more information, visit www.holidayale.com and follow the event @HolidayAleFest on social media, hashtag #HolidayAle.

Holiday Ale Festival Participants
2 Towns Ciderhouse (Corvallis, OR): Bourbon Barrel Nice & Naughty, Imperial Cider
54°40' Brewing Co. (Washougal, WA): Restoration Bock, Dopplebock
Ancestry Brewing Co. (Tualatin, OR): Horchata Winter Stout, Spiced Stout
Anthem Cider (Salem, OR): Honey Crisp Holiday Spirit, Unfiltered Cider
Base Camp Brewing Co. (Portland, OR): Barrel Aged Imperial S'more Stout, Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
Bear Republic Brewing Co. (Cloverdale, CA): Olive the Other Reindeer, Dark Sour
Burnside Brewing Co. (Portland, OR): Owd Cappy Mac, Whiskey Barrel Aged Wee Heavy
Caldera Brewing Co. (Ashland, OR): Caldera Pink Peppercorn, Lavender, Chocolate Imperial Stout, Imperial Stout
Cider Riot! (Portland, OR): Winter Orchard Imperial Cider, Barrel Aged Cider
Collaborator (Portland, OR): Moore Holiday Ale, Imperial Bohemian Pilsner
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project (Denver, CO): 5 Golden Rings, Golden Sour Ale aged in White Wine Barrels with Mulberries, Candied Ginger, Orange Peel, and Muscat Raisins
Defeat River Brewery (Reedsport, OR): Firry Sweater, Experimental Ale
Deluxe Brewing (Albany, OR): Bock The Holidays!, Pilsenbock
Depoe Bay Brewing Co. (Depoe Bay, OR): Hakari nui pia, Wheat IPA
Drake's Brewing Co. (San Leandro, CA): Vin-Drak, Wine Grape Fermented Imperial Stout
Drinking Horse Brewing Co. (Clackamas, OR): Jack Horner's Imperial Porter, Imperial Porter
Ecliptic Brewing (Portland, OR): Cosmic Bog Sauce, Sour Brown Ale
Eel River Brewing Co. (Fortuna, CA): Conspiracy of Ravens, Chocolate Coconut Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Oatmeal/Milk Stout
Falling Sky Brewing (Eugene, OR): Cranberry-Juniper Gose, Cranberry-Juniper Gose
Finnriver Farm & Cidery (Chimacum, WA): Finnriver Disco Peach Cider, Sour Fruit and Spice Cider
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. (Paso Robles, CA): Single Hop Pale, Pale Ale
Fort George Brewery (Astoria, OR): Breaking the Mulled, Barrel Aged Spiced Strong Ale
Fremont Brewing (Seattle, WA): Winter Fuego, Imperial Winter Ale
Gigantic Brewing (Portland, OR): The Cat Ate My Stash & Pissed On The Christmas Tree, IPA
Gilgamesh Brewing (Salem, OR): Charlie Bruin, Oud Bruin
Golden Valley Brewery (McMinnville, OR): Tickle my Dickel, Whisky Barrel Aged Old Ale
Hopworks Urban Brewery (Portland, OR): Yule Only Live Once, Imperial Dessert Beer
Kells Brewery (Portland, OR): The Selfish Giant, Bourbon Barrel Aged Irish Stout with Cherries
Lagunitas Brewing Co. (Petaluma, CA): The Devil Came to Petuluma, Barrel Aged Blend
Logsdon Farmhouse Ales (Hood River, OR): Gnome For the Holidays, Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian Strong Dark with Cocoa Nibs
Lompoc Brewing (Lompoc, OR): Top Shelf Dubbel, Old Sport, Belgian Dubbel
Migration Brewing (Portland, OR): Hazy Holidays Lager, Imperial Lager
Modern Times Beer (San Diego, CA): Black House Vanilla Macadamia Nut Latte, Oatmeal Coffee Stout with Vanilla and Macadamia Nuts
Montavilla Brew Works (Portland, OR): Severe Concussion IPA, Triple IPA
Natian Brewery (Portland, OR): Old Grogham, Wood Aged IPA
Nectar Creek (Corvallis, OR): Top Bar, Coffee Session Mead
Ninkasi Brewing Co. (Eugene, OR): These Hips Don't Lie, American Hopped Belgian Style Pale Ale with Rose Hips and White Pepper Corns
Oakshire Brewing (Eugene, OR): Florgia Borgia, Chocolate Milk Stout with Orange and Coffee
Pelican Brewing Co. (Pacific City/Tillamook/Cannon Beach, OR): Dark Hearted Blonde, Pale Stout
pFriem Family Brewers (Hood River, OR): Juicy Winter Ale, Winter Ale
PINTS Brewing Co. (Portland, OR): Christmas Down Under, Session IPA
Portland Brewing (Portland, OR): The Dude Abides, White Russian Imperial Stout
Portland Cider Co. (Clackamas, OR): Cranberry Sauced, Spiced Fruit Cider
Reverend Nat's Hard Cider (Portland, OR): Warm Abbey Spice with Cranberry, Cider
Rogue Ales (Newport, OR): Woodsman's Wine, Whiskey Barrel Aged Barleywine
Santiam Brewing (Salem, OR): Hibernal Druid, Braggot
Sixpoint (Brooklyn, NY): Mad Scientists Ale #22 Pina Colada, NE IPA with Experimental Hops
Stickmen Brewing Co. (Lake Oswego, OR): Tryptophantastic, Stout
StormBreaker Brewing (Portland, OR): Barrel Aged Kilt By Death, Barrel Aged Scotch Ale
Three Mugs Brewing Co. (HIllsboro, OR): Mrs Claus's Peppermint Desire White Chocolate Ale, Blonde Ale with White Chocolate and Peppermint
Trap Door Brewing (Vancouver, WA): Holidank, Double IPA
Vanguard Brewing Co. (Wilsonville, OR): Uninhibited, Imperial Oatmeal Stout
Wayfinder Beer (Portland, OR): Rotorvator Doppelbock, Doppelbock
Wild Ride Brewing (Redmond, OR): Twist & Shout Coffee Blonde Holiday Edition, Coffee Blonde Ale
Wolf Tree Brewery (Seal Rock, OR): The Barrel Aged Belgian Dip, Belgian Dark Strong

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fresh Hops Are HERE! Part 2

Fresh Hops Galore!
In my previous posting, I listed a number of Portland breweries that currently have their own fresh hop beers on tap. Of course, there are myriad taprooms, bars and beer drinking establishments throughout the greater Portland area with extensive, eclectic and deliciously current tap lists that cannot be forgotten.

If you look over at the sidebar on my lil' ol' blog, you will see links to many, many PDX tap lists. (Okay, you won't see them on your phone, only on an actual computer or tablet. I'm too technologically challenged to make it THAT convenient for you.) Check out all of those links! A bunch of them have fresh hop beers on tap already! Score!

Once again, I've perused the lists and provided you with a handy synopsis of the current offerings. (You're welcome, AGAIN!) Of course, this would be AS OF RIGHT NOW. I strongly recommend that you double check by looking at my taproom list on the left sidebar, or call the bar. Taps change constantly.

  • Imperial Bottle Shop and Taproom (Division)
    • Lompoc Brewing Fresh Hop Death Punch Golden Ale
    • Mazama Brewing Mazama Green Magic Fresh Hop Pale Ale
    • Montavilla Brew Works Tangled Up In Hops Fresh Hop IPA
    • Finnriver Cidery Fresh Hop Cider
  • ABV Public House
    • Ex Novo Brewing Fresh Hop Eliot IPA (Amarillo)
    • Baerlic Brewing Fresh Hop Hellsner Helles Lager
  • Apex
    • Fremont Brewing Fresh Hop Centennial Pale Ale
    • Double Mountain Brewery - Fresh Hop Killer Red IPA
  • Bailey's Taproom
    • Double Mountain Brewery - Fresh Hop Killer Red IPA
  • Belmont Station
    • Double Mountain Brewery - Fresh Hop Killer Red IPA
    • Mazama Brewing Mazama Green Magic Fresh Hop Pale Ale
  • Fat Heads
    • Hop Stalker Fresh Hop IPA
  • 15th Avenue Hophouse
    • Level Brewing Game On! Fresh Hop Pale Ale
    • Mazama Brewing Mazama Green Magic Fresh Hop Pale Ale
  • The BeerMongers
    • Fremont Brewing Field to Ferment Fresh Hop Pale
  • Tin Bucket
    • Level Brewing Game On! Fresh Hop Pale Ale
  • Portland Cider House (Hawthorne)
    • New West Cider Fresh Hop Cider
    • Finnriver Cidery Fresh Hop Cider
    • Portland Cider Fresh Hop Cider
  • Horse Brass Pub
    • Two Beers Brewing - Fresh Citra Hop IPA
    • Fremont Brewing Field to Ferment Fresh Hop Pale Ale

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fresh Hops Are Coming! Fresh Hops Are HERE!

Hops, Wonderful Hops!
Fresh hop season is upon us! I know because I have a whole bunch of beautiful homegrown hops to harvest this weekend. I've got Cascade, Willamette and Zeus Hops, all looking pretty spectacular.  Of course, looks don't mean much if you can't brew worth a crap. Urp, sorry, but I'm going to try my best.

Gratefully, folks won't have to rely on my brewing skills in order to partake of some tasty, fresh hop beers. Soon, we'll have fresh hop festivals galore to attend. (I must say, I'm a little worried about the Hood River Hops Fest. It's always one of my favorites. What with the fires in the Gorge and the closing of I-84, I imagine there will be an impact.)

Fresh hop beers will be on tap in breweries across the city very soon. There are also a few Portland breweries with fresh hop beers ALREADY on tap. I made a few phone calls so you don't have to! You're welcome! Just raise a pint to me when you're passing this delicious stuff through your lips and over your quivering taste buds.

  • Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom
    • Killer Green IPA
    • Killer Red IPA
    • (Fresh Hop Lion IPA coming soon!)
  • Labrewatory
    • So Fresh, So Clean IPA
  • Ex Novo Brewing Company
    • Fresh Hop Eliot IPA w/ Simcoe
    • Fresh Hop Eliot IPA w/ Amarillo
  • Laurelwood Brewing Company
    • Fresh Hop Free Range Red
    • Lowerwood Fresh Hop Pale Ale (collab w/ Lowercase Brewing)
  • Alameda Brewing Co
    • Solar Cone Pale Ale
  • Baerlic Brewing Co
    • Fresh Hop Hellsner Helles Lager
    • Fresh Hop Early Bird Pale Ale
    • Fresh Hop Pioneer ESB
  • Montavilla Brew Works
    • Tangled Up In Hops IPA
    • Pocket Full of Goschies Red Ale
  • McMenamins
    • Ben's Fresh Hop Ale

Enjoy! I'll update this list as I receive more information.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Final Draft Taphouse Opens Today!

Final Draft Taphouse, Vancouver's newest craft beer bar, opens today, July 3.

I must admit that until recently there were really only two reasons I ever took a trip to Vancouver, WA: 1) My daughter lives in Vancouver with her husband and my two adorable granddaughters, and 2) Trader Joe's in Vancouver always has plenty of parking, unlike the nightmare store near my Portland neighborhood. (Don't ever get between me and my chocolate Joe-Joe's.) Gratefully, I now have another reason to take a little trip across the bridge into Washington. Final Draft Taphouse opens its doors to the public today at 3PM. I was lucky enough to pay them a visit yesterday during an industry preview. Needless to say, I was impressed.

Final Draft Taphouse is the dream come true of two of the nicest craft beer folks you'll ever meet. Mike Bolt and Kimberly Johnson have pooled their extensive beer knowledge and created a destination taphouse that I expect to become the gem of Mill Plain Boulevard. I followed them put some significant blood, sweat and probably a few tears into this venture. They have much reason to be proud of their efforts.

The taplist is extensive and eclectic. Thirty taps line the wall behind the natural wood bar. Mike advised me that it is his intention to keep a focus on local, Vancouver area beer and they will always have a good rotating selection to showcase. That was certainly my experience when I visited yesterday. Washington craft beers are typically found only in smattering numbers throughout Portland and it is awesome to now have a top tier taproom within a short drive where more than just a few can be sampled and enjoyed.

The taproom is spacious, clean and bright. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. I usually prefer to do my beer drinking at the bar and Final Draft's bar has plenty of seating. Just for fun, three ukeleles are available for customers to strum, should the desire suddenly strike. Mike is quite the uke virtuoso!

I absolutely, positively will visit Final Draft Taphouse whenever I'm in Vancouver. If you live in Vancouver and love craft beer, you need to get yourself over there ASAP. If you live in Portland, consider piling your friends into the Family Truckster and heading up 205 to Vancouver soon.

Final Draft Taphouse is located at 11504 Mill Plain Boulevard, Vancouver, WA 98684, right behind Starbucks.

Cool artwork greets you at the entrance.

Bright open space and a beautiful, natural wood bar.

30 taps tracked by two bright screens behind the bar.

Cozy tables for two if you're on a date night.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Cascade Brewing Releases Figaro 2015 in Bottle and Draft


PORTLAND, Ore. – Cascade Brewing will release its Figaro 2015 project on  June 27 and noon PDT. It will be available in bottle and draft in house at its two pubs: the Cascade Brewing Barrel House and the Raccoon Lodge, as well as through its distribution channels. 

The Figaro project is a blend of sour strong blond ales aged in chardonnay barrels for up to 18 months with white figs, lemon peel and orange peel. Cascade begins this blend with freshly emptied chardonnay barrels from the Willamette Valley wine region and fills them with its strong blond ale, imparting a complex white wine character to the beer with a hint of oak. After several months of maturation, lemon peel, orange peel and dried white figs are added to each barrel and allow a slow, steady fruit fermentation to take place.

Several more rounds of figs are added over a 12 month period, contributing layer upon layer of flavor until the beer has achieved optimum fruit intensity. The fruited beer is then transferred to a stainless steel tank and blended with a small portion of non-fruited sour blond ale until the desired balance of flavors is achieved. The beer comes in at nine percent alcohol by volume.

“The release of Figaro is welcome news to many of our consumers and wholesalers alike due to the fact that we have been out of stock on this item for more than six months,” noted Tim Larrance, VP of Marketing and Sales. “The 2014 release sold out in record time and we fully expect this one to do the same.”

Figaro is a tier one offering; Cascade’s new bottles have distinct label styles for each of the three Cascade Brewing pricing tiers, with each label within the tier utilizing distinctive colors to clearly differentiate each beer. The tiers differ by the style of beer used in the product, the type ingredients contained within, the time aged in the barrels and types of barrels used.

The next two scheduled Cascade Brewing releases are Framblanc in July followed by Sang Noir in August.

About Cascade Brewing
Cascade Brewing has been a pioneer in the sour beer renaissance since 2006 and the proud innovator of the Northwest Sour Ale. Its distinctive sour beer blends feature fruit forward, barrel-aged ales with an emphasis on project year-to-year variation. These beers offer a complex array of flavors derived from the acid, the fruit and the residual flavors present in the barrels in which they age. The resulting beers offer a complex array of flavors and aromas derived from with each project year release capturing the unique subtleties of that year’s growing season. Cascade Brewing’s sour ales are brewed and blended in Portland, Oregon. Cheers to the sours; enjoy in a profoundly wise manner.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Fort George Brewery (collab) - 3-Way IPA 2017

The juice is loose!
For the past several years, Astoria, Oregon's Fort George Brewery has started off the summer with the release of their venerated seasonal collaboration, 3-Way IPA. It's become an annual tradition, with two different, well-known craft brewers joining creative forces with Fort George each year. This year's 3-Way had to be the most highly anticipated yet. The buzz has been growing steadily for at least a month and I was starting to wonder if the beer could possibly live up to the pre-release hype. I won't keep you in suspense. IT DOES!

The collaboration brewers for this 2017 release are Portland's Great Notion Brewing (Yay! My Alberta Street neighborhood brewery!) and Seattle's Reuben's Brews. Of course, I'm very familiar with Fort George--my favorite coastal road trip brewery--and Great  Notion gets a significant amount of my discretionary income, being directly on the route from my return-from-work bus stop and my front porch. Reuben's Brews is new to me, but I've heard nothing but praise from my friends in the Emerald City.

Hey, let's just get right to the review...

The beer poured into the glass a cloudy, golden orange color with a foamy white head that rose up to more than a finger in height. The head dissipated slowly, with copious amounts of webby lacing left behind all over the glass.

Wow! What an aroma! Big smells of tropical and citrus fruit came wafting out of the can as soon as I popped the top. Orange, guava, pineapple, tangerine, melon, mango. It's a tropical fruit salad, folks, and I mean that in a good way.

Dank, juicy and delicious. Primary taste of tropical and citrus fruit with some resinous pine. Some spicy notes. Appropriate hops bitterness for a respectable IPA. That juicy fruit flavor is the star of the show! Ha, tastes as good going down as it does burping up. You hopheads know what  I'm talking about.

Medium mouthfeel with a bit of a chew to the body. Smooth finish. No detectable alcohol heat to this 7% ABV brew.

Overall, this is a wonderful, beautiful IPA. I guess three heads really are better than one! This is my favorite beer of the summer so far and it will take something pretty special to knock 3-Way 2017 off the high pedestal I'm placing it on. I recommend getting yourselves a few four packs of this gem before they become scarce. I got mine at New Seasons.

I'm giving 3-Way 2017 a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4 AND a droolie. Merry the Wonder Beagle went on a hop hunt the entire time I was sipping on this one, and I can't blame her! It is an amazing beer!