Thursday, March 17, 2011

Laurelwood Celebrates 10 Years

Portland's first certified organic brewery, founded in March 2001 by Mike De Kalb and Cathy Woo-De Kalb, Laurelwood has grown from its original 7 barrel Laurelwood Public House & Brewery. In 2007 Laurelwood relocated to the former Sylvia's Dinner Theater (5115 NE Sandy Blvd.) and upgraded to a 15 barrel brewery to help keep up with growing demands. In 2009 they opened a new pub in Battle Ground, WA that includes a 2 barrel "Nano" brewery to allow experimentation on new and innovative beer recipes. Laurelwood is also represented at PDX Airport on Concourses A and E as well as at Portland's Rose Garden Arena. During this time they have sold the original location and shuttered the NW pub.

On Friday, March 18th Laurelwood will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary from 5-11pm at their Sandy location. The party will feature Live Music, $2.50 Pints, and Family Fun. The party is sponsored by Taplister who just announced an In App upgrade that will allow users to view beer ratings and descriptions from

Laurelwood will also be releasing 2 new beers to the public: The "Big O" Organic Pale Ale and Imperial Workhorse IPA. I was fortunate to attend a preview of these beers and must say that Laurelwood is following their reputation of producing solid NW beers.
"Big O" on the right, Hop Monkey on the left

The Organic Pale Ale will be replacing the Hop Monkey in their year round lineup. I had a chance to try both of these beers side by side. They are nearly identical in appearance but the Organic Pale drinks smoother with less overpowering hops and seemed more attenuated. These factors create a better balance than the Hop Monkey and create a sort of Cascadian Session Ale. Laurelwood also brought 1 of the 3 experimental Pales that they brewed to develop the new recipe to last week's Meet the Distributor night at Bottles. That beer was again a little more assertive than the final product which features a mellow smoothness that is highly quaffable.

On another end of the spectrum is the Imperial Workhorse IPA. The original gravity was bumped up from 17º Plato to 19.5º Plato resulting in an ABV of about 9.5%. To balance this out, the hops were increased to contribute about 15 more IBUs over the standard Workhorse. This beer contains plenty of hops presenting a firm bitterness and a pleasant resinous character. The malts provide a good balance with some sweetness coming through. I overheard mention that no hop extract was used but that some hop pellets were ground up before use in hopes of better utilization. Not as cloying as this year's Green Mammoth but also lacking some of the over the top aromatics of that brew, this fits in nicely between that and their standard IPAs.

Another new beer that they had on tap was a Mexican Mocha (which I was told tastes eerily similar to an actual Mexican Mocha). Brewed with South American specialty malts, cinnamon, coffee, cocoa nibs, and Serrano peppers, this deep amber brew was quite impressive. The nose consisted of chocolate with a hint of the Serranos, and malty sweetness. The taste followed with initial sweetness followed by the cocoa and a hint of heat and spices as it rolls off the tongue.

 Laurelwood will also be bottling the Hooligan Brown Ale just in time for our local Football club's inaugural MLS season (that's the Portland Timbers in case you've been under a rock). Other new bottles to look for this coming year are the Organic Pale Ale and Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale.

1 comment:

dabudah said...

Laurelwood just announced on Facebook that they are also tapping a firkin of Imperial Workhorse and a bourbon barrel aged Moose and Squirrel Russian Imperial Stout keg.