Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Beer Of The Year? Perhaps.

Cascade Maker's Mark Single Barrel (Straight) Bourbonic.
Ladies and Gents I give to you my nomination for beer of the year: Cascade Maker's Mark Single Barrel (Straight) Bourbonic.  Cascade Barrel House tapped it last night as part of their "Tap It Tuesday" program. Last night my buddy Marc and I made out to the Barrel House to try this amazingly balanced and tasty beer.  If you live here in Portland and haven't been to Tap It Tuesday you owe it to yourself to go! They usually have the barrel on for at least a week (I think, maybe 2).  Get down there and try it!  What a great Christmas present from Cascade to the patrons of the Barrel House!

Nicole (and her husband Paul) over at Portland Beer And Music were bestowed the honor of tapping the barrel and wrote a nice post about it.  Check it out. I know there are going to be a lot of lists of best beers of the year soon, this beer and Cascade's Gluek Kriek (served hot with an orange slice studded with cloves and a sugar cube)  sits at the top of mine.  What beers are on your list?

 We also made it over to Belmont Station last night where they had all the ('05 thru '09) Epic beers from the now closed Roots Brewing.  It was rare treat get to try these beers again.  My favorites were the '05 and '06. If they still have them on tap you should head over there and try them!

Of course the only picture I got was of the Bourbonic (even that was an after thought)! Too much great beer to taste! It was truly a great night to be in Portland!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hopsichord in Portland - Friday 12/10

If you read about my Beer Camp Experience at Sierra Nevada you may be wondering about the beer that we brewed. I am proud to announce that the first keg will be pouring at Belmont Station this Friday, December 10 (there will only be two other kegs in Oregon: one at the Bier Stein in Eugene and the other at the Highland Stillhouse in Oregon City).

Sierra Nevada's first consumer Beer Camp appears to have been a success as they will be taking entries for second edition beginning May, 2011. See for more details or come down Friday and I will tell you all about it! Sierra Nevada representative Jeff Eder will also be on hand to answer any questions.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Ale Festival Preview And A Few Picks

Another post about the Holiday Ale Festival? One might think that the HAF is my favorite festival of the year. Well I guess that would not be too far from the truth. It is hard to believe that it's Holiday Ale Festival time again. 2 PM today in Pioneer Courthouse Square.

A few days ago I was lucky enough to attend the media preview for the event.  I'm going to just give you my picks from the preview and a few other tidbits since time is running short (I'll be heading down to the fest after I write this post)

First my picks from the preview -

  • Block 15 Brewing - Figgy Pudding Olde Stock - This is 1 of 2 different versions of this beer. The brewer explains here
  • Bear Republic Brewing - Ebewesner Scrooge - Very nice balance sour with smokey complexity.
  • Cascade Brewing - Sang Noir - Sour cherry & whiskey goodness. What else can I say?
  • Coalition Brewing  - Lost Glove - This is a hoppy strong ale with balance malt profile. I recommend it as a change of pace from the other strong and sour beers.
  • Lompoc Brewing - Franc'ly Brewdolph Belgian Red - Very tasty blend of malt and oak. Aged  in Cabernet Franc barrels for 13 months and then blended with 2010 Brewdolph. Nice.
There are quite a few others to talk about but as I said time is short. For more great reviews and information check out these blogs:

    Wed. 2 pm
    1- 2005 Samichlaus
    2- 2009 New Belgium Love
    3- 2008 Oskar Blues Ten-Fiddy
    4- Firestone 14th Anniversary

    Thurs. 2 pm
    1- Lompoc Brewing 8 Malty Nights
    2- Deschutes Oak Aged Jubel 2000
    3- North Coast Brewing 2008 Old Stock
    4- Cascade Brewing 2009 Sang Noir

    Fri, 2 pm
    1- BridgePort Brewing Old Knucklehead 2003
    2- TBA
    3- 2008 Jim
    4- 2009 Jim

    Sat. 2 pm
    1-Dogfish Head Festina Peche 2008
    2- Fort George North III (2009)
    3- Cascade Brewing 2007 Barrel Select Baltic Porter
    4- TBA

    There you have it! Have fun and I hope to see you down at the festival. Cheers!

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    2010 Holiday Ale Festival Beer List with Descriptions

    Here is the list for the Holiday Ale Festival with descriptions as well as beer stats that Chris Crabb of the Holiday Ale Festival sent to beer bloggers  and other media type folks. I've been playing around with publishing google docs as a way to blog more. I apologize if this looks kind of weird.

    Tomorrow afternoon there is a media preview that I am very much looking forward to attending! I'll let you know what my picks are this year.

    The HAF just published this list with distributions on their site here. It's much easier to read too.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    2010 Holiday Ale Festival Beer List

    The list is up for Holiday Ale Festival and it's only a month away! This list is straight from their website with some changes in the spacing. There are a few typos like the of 2 beers as Holiday Ale for the brewery. I did put a question mark on those. The HAF is becoming one of my favorite festivals of the year and I’m once again looking forward to this event! 
    I'll look over this list and post about a few I'm itching to try.

    2010 Brewery List

    • 10 Barrel Brewing Co - Pray For Snow Strong Ale
    • Alameda Brewing Co - Papa Noels Moonlight Reseve Strong Ale (Olde Ale)
    • Alaskan Brewing Co - Alaskan Barley Wine ~ Vintage 2008 Strong Ale (Barley Wine)
    • Bear Republic Brewing Co - Ebeweesner Scrooge Sour Ale
    • Beer Valley Brewing - Ho Ho Ho Slapper Strong Ale
    • Block 15 Restaurant & Brewery - Figgy Pudding, Olde Stock Specialty Beer (Brandy Barrel Aged Strong Ale with Figs, Spices & Brettanomyces)
    • Boneyard Beer Company - Femme Fatale Sour Ale ( sour red brown with raspberries and cranberries)
    • Breakside Brewery - Breakside Belge d'Hiver Strong Ale (Belgian-style Barley wine/Super saison)
    • BridgePort Brewing Co - Old Knucklehead Strong Ale (Barley Wine)
    • Buckbean Brewing Co - Very Noddy Lager Dark Lager (Imperial Schwarzbier)
    • Buckman Village Brewery - TA Specialty Beer
    • Cascade Brewing - Sang Noir Sour Ale (Bourbon Fruit Sour Red)
    • Coalition Brewing - Lost Glove Strong Ale
    • Collaborator - Aegir's Cauldron Smoke-Flavored or Wood-Aged Beer (Barrel aged porter)
    • Columbia River Brewing Co. - Paddlers Porter Porter (Chocolate - Vanilla Bean Baltic Porter)
    • Deschutes Brewery - TBA Belgian Strong Ale
    • Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom - tbd Dark Lager
    • Eel River Brewing Co - 2009 climax noel Specialty Beer (strong belgian hybrid)
    • Fifty Fifty Brewing Co - Concentrated Evil Belgian Strong Ale (Strong Dark Belgian brewed with raisins, exotic sugars)
    • Firestone Walker Brewing Co - Special Barrel Blend Strong Ale
    • Fort George Brewery and Public House -North the Fourth Strong Ale
    • Gilgamesh Brewing - Cranberry Saison Belgian and French Ale
    • Hazel Dell Brewpub - Steins Chrismas Ale Specialty Beer (Dark Chrismas Ale)
    • Holiday Ale  (Hair of The Dog) - JIM 2010 Strong Ale (Strong Ale Blend)
    • Holiday Ale(?) - Moore Holiday Ale Specialty Beer (Imperial Pilsner)
    • Hop Valley Brewing Co - Festeroo Strong Ale (Old Ale)
    • Hopworks Urban Brewery - TBD Strong Ale
    • Lagunitas Brewing Co - Bourbon-Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout Stout (Russian Imperial Stout)
    • Laht Neppur Brewing Co - To Be Determined Stout
    • Laurelwood Brewing Co - Black Pepper Belgian Pale Ale Belgian Strong Ale
    • Lompoc Brewing Co - Franc'ly Brewdolph Belgian Strong Ale (Belgian Red)
    • Lucky Labrador Brewing - Pavlov's Russian Imperial Strout Stout
    • McMenamins - Parson Brown English Brown Ale (American Brown / Winter Warmer Hybrid)
    • Migration Brewery - Nor'Easter Belgian Strong Ale (Belgian Winter Speciality)
    • Natian Brewery - Winter IPA India Pale Ale (IPA)
    • New Belgium Brewing Co Lips Of Faith mix of kegs Strong Ale (Various beers)
    • Ninkasi Brewing Co - Unconventional Stout (Imperial Stout with Lavendar , Taragon, and Heather)
    • Oakshire Brewing - Very Ill Tempered Gnome Strong Ale
    • Rock Bottom Brewery -Blitzen Belgian Strong Ale (Belgian Style Tripple)
    • Seven Brides Brewing - Weezin-ator Specialty Beer (Doppelbock)
    • Shmaltz Brewing Co. - Jewbelation Blend Strong Ale
    • Southern Oregon Brewing Co - Mrs. Claws Strong Ale
    • Stone Brewing Co - Stone Smoked Porter W/ Vanilla Beans Porter (Spiced )
    • Three Creeks Brewing Co - Rudolph's Imperial Red Strong Ale (Imperial Red)
    • Vertigo Brewing - Special Chocolate Porter Porter (Chocolate Porter)
    • Widmer Brothers Brewing Company - Black Dynamite Specialty Beer (Lemon, Chocolate, Peppercorn, Baltic Porter)

    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    Cascade Barrel House Visit

    "Live" Barrels in the Walk-in Cooler
     I was out early on Tuesday to get my OLCC server's permit and decided to head to the Cascade Barrel House afterwords. This was my third trip the Barrel House, so it was about time I posted about it.
    The first beer I had was the Frite Galois. Here is the description of the beer from the menu:
    Frite Galois
    Frite Galois: 4.6% ABV / $4.50 Teardrop
    This light farmhouse ale was aged for three months in white port barrels that were previously used to age our Noyeaux. This is a nice crisp sour beer with a trace of influence from the Noyeaux.

    I found it to be light and refreshing with a nice but not overwhelming sourness to it.
    Every Tuesday the Barrel House taps 2 different barrels for their "Live Barrel" Series. The next beer I had was from a barrel that was tapped the previous Tuesday called Cherry Bourbon Double Red (w/ Bourbacide).  This beer has a wonderfully delightful nose of cherries, chocolate, and bourbon with a sour and earthy finish. It reminded me of chocolate covered cherries (with bourbon, of course).

    Ron Gansberg in the Blending Room
    While I was there Cascade Master brewer Ron Gansberg came over to chat with me. We ended up having a great conversation about two of my favorite things, beer and barbecue after which he asked if I would like a tour. Well of course I did!

    Here are a few pictures of the Barrel House. Thanks for the tour and great beer Ron! I can't wait for my next visit.

    Barrels In The Blending Room
    Related Post:

    Bottle tasting at Cascade Brewing/Raccoon Lodge

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010

    Brewpublic Killer Beer Week

    I know it's all over the place but I had to mention it as well because I am huge supporter of Brewpublic. I going to try to make it to most or all (By The Bottle would be worth the drive but it's the drive back that's the problem...) :

    Brewpublic is pleased to announce the lineup of beers for this year's KillerBeerFest and celebrates 2 years with 22 awesome beers.

    What: 22 special beers: one-offs, one-of-a-kinds, and other specialty styles running the gamut of flavor and complexity. This event is a highlight of Brewpublic's KillerBeerWeek (see attached flyer). 

    Why: All this to celebrate our love for beer that we share with our friends and the people who make craft beer culture here in the Pacific Northwest, especially Beervana, unsurpassed. 

    When: Saturday October 23, 2010 4PM-midnight

    Where: Bailey's Taproom 213 SW Broadway, Portland, Oregon (these people are dear to us and share our passion for great beer)

    Beers pouring: 

    Blueberry Lambic
    A special Belgian-style keg for this fruity beautiful purple colored beer has made its way to Portland from Astoria. Brewer John Dalgren employed a Wyeast blend to ferment out the beer and added 165 pounds of blueberries and an additional 3.5 pounds to each keg. Brettanomyces was added along with oak chips soaked in wine barrels and aged for five months. 

    Barley Brown’s 
    Trappist Strong Ale
    Here is the first Belgian-style brew from one of Oregon’s most accomplished brewers, Shawn Kelso. Featuring a 2-row base with 60, 80, & 120 crystal malts along with some Munich Bonlander, a touch of rye malt and flaked oats. The hops are Simcoe to bitter and Amarillo for flavor. The taste is quite estery with hints of plums and dried dark fruit. This prototypical beer features bold depth and distinct mahogany color.  8% ABV, ~50 IBU.

    Block 15
    Jack Straw 
    Stong amber ale brewed and matured with house roasted locally grown sweet meat pumpkins.  Gently spiced with Ceylon Cinnamon, Jamican Allspice, and whole nutmeg. Further conditioned with a touch of black strap molasses. 7% ABV 25 IBU's
    Breakside Brewery
    Ghost Chile IPA
    A traditional American IPA brewed with six C hops (Columbus, Chinook, Cascade, Centennial, Citra, and Crystal) and a killer twist: the infamous Naga jolokia (aka "Ghost chile") pepper, the hottest chile on earth, was added during the boil to give this beer an extra punch. 6.2% ABV, 63 IBU, Scoville rating: Unknown.

    Beer Valley
    Jackalope Pumpkin Ale
    Here is the first veggie beer brewed by Beer Valley Brewing, Oregon’s easternmost brewery from Ontario. Brewed with 2-row, Munich, Caramel malts, flaked barley and pumpkin puree. Hopped with Cascades. 7.5% ABV.

    Beck Berry
    This Northwest-style sour blends tripels and strong blondes that were lacticly fermented and aged more than a year with blackberries in oak barrels. Then, a secondary inoculation was done with a recently isolated plumbers strain of Brett called Beckamoyces Aasskraquii. Some sour cherries were blended in to give this beer some pucker.  This is a rare beer; once it¹s gone, it’s gone. 8% ABV.

    Liquid Sterling
    Liquid Sterling is a both a single hop and a fresh hop common ale. Sterling hops were used throughout, with 100 pounds of fresh Sterlings in the back end to lend its unique taste and aroma.  A blend of 2-row and Vienna malt for the base give it a lagery crispness, with Caramunich and British Crystal malts used for to give sweetness and color.  4.8% ABV, 37 IBU.

    Double Mountain 
    Killer Green Fresh Hop IPA
    One of Oregon’s most beloved beers among hopheads, Killer Green features fresh Brewers Gold hops from Sodbuster Farms in Hopmere, Oregon. The base brew for Killer Green is a nice hefty IPA recipe, featuring a toffeeish malt character and enticingly earthy orange-hued color. The mouthfeel is rich and resinous, the flavors a complex mix of sweet, spicy, herbal and fruity; the finish is long and memorable, with a smooth yet powerful bitterness. In a word — Killer! 7.2% ABV, 83BU.

    Fort George 
    Kentucky Coffee Girl
    A special batch of Fort George’s Coffee Girl Stout, an imperial stout dry hopped with eight pounds of Ethiopian Halle Sclassie Sodamo coffee beans. The beans give a bit of a fruity taste along with hints of cardamom, cream, ginger and caramel. This batch is a perfect blend for our coffee girl beer that has a strong malty and chocolate taste. The beans have been sitting and aging with the beer aged in bourbon casks. 9.5% ABV.

    Totality Imperial Stout
    California’s lone brew at this event, Truckee’s FiftyFifty brewing was kind enough to part with this truly killer Imperial Stout that is ‘to die for.’ Brewer Todd Ashman calls it a “good 'ol Impy Stout.”  It is the base beer for the brewery’s high regarded and ultra rare Eclipse. 9.5% ABV.

    Fresh Hopped Oktoberfest
    Brewed with heavy doses of Vienna and Munich roasted malts, creates a slightly malty body with nut and bread notes. Finished off with a heavy helping of fresh Willamette hops just off the vine, leaving a big hop finish and light fresh cut grass aroma. The perfect beer for starting the fall season. 5.8% ABV, 20 IBU.

    Bay Laurel Ale
    Loaded with a plenitude of malts and hops, Laurelwood Brewmaster Chad Kennedy says this beer is “One of the more unique beers we’ve created.” This pale ale is made with six different malts including, barley, rye and wheat as well as four varieties of hops. To make it even more exciting, the beer contains fresh Bay Laurel leaves that were added in the fermenter and conditioning tank “a balanced pale ale with the pleasing aroma of fresh bay leaves- quite distinct from the dried version.” 5.7% ABV, 40 IBU.

    Mt. Tabor
    Sibeerian Bull Imperial Stout
    From one of our favorite new breweries to rear its head in 2010 comes this Russian Imperial Stout inspired by cold Russian winters and our fresh Bull Run water supply. Sibeerian Bull is a big, hoppy stout capable of delivering that knock-out blow. 10.8% ABV, 100 IBUs.

    New Old Lompoc
    Bourbon Barrel-aged Monster Mash
    An Imperial Porter, Monster Mash features strong chocolate and roast flavors with a touch of red fruit. Originally released at The Monster Mash Bash, this supremely limited ’09 Bourbon Barrel Aged rendition was brewed on August 21 2009, aged in Bourbon barrels for 11 months and cellared for an additional two months. This Imperial Porter has a bold Bourbon aroma with chocolate and licorice flavors finishing with vanilla notes 8% ABV, 50 IBU. 

    Oak-aged Total Domination
    Citrus and malt interplay to make this NW Style IPA. 6.7 % ABV, 65 IBUS. We used Pinot Noir casks from King Estate Winery. The color was pulled from the wood for us leaving a neutral wood to work with. The casks were dry hopped three separate times. Once, with Crystal hops, then Amarillo, then Northern Brewer.  We also added three different additions of wood chips at the time of dry hopping. French Dark Roast Oak chips, then Light Medium Hungarian Oak, then Light Fresh American Oak.  The casks were topped off with more Total Domination, twice sent through the centrifuge and carbonated.

    Lucky Labrador 
    Force of Nature
    Here is a Pinot barrel aged imperial pale ale that melds chewy robust maltiness, bold Northwest hops and a mildly tart and fruity flavors brightened and given life by the wood. When it comes to killer beers, Lucky Lab knows how to help throw a party. 9.5% ABV, 85 IBU.

    Collaborative Belly of the Evil Beast Imperial CDA
    A special house blend of Oakshire’s Collaborative Evil Imperial Porter and Belly of the Beast Imperial Red.  Smooth notes of chocolate and roast overlay a firm citrus bitterness and mild hop aromas. ABV 8.8% IBU 50.

    Full House Imperial Brown
    While celebrating our win of three Gold medals, two Silver medals and Large Brewpub of the Year at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival, one of our fans said, “Three golds and two silvers, that’s a full house!” This huge win inspired our brewers to come up with a celebration beer, and the Full House was born! Full House has a dark red-brown color, a solid foundation of caramel and cocoa-like chocolate malt, and a pronounced floral Northwest hop character. Full-bodied and full of flavor, Full House finishes clean, balanced, warming and satisfying. 8.3% ABV, 60 IBU. 

    Prodigal Son
    Bruce/Lee Porter
    Rich and chocolate-y with a strong coffee flavor. This is a robust porter not for the faint of heart. Composed of five different grains, the porter features specialty malts from four different countries. Vieena and melanoidin malts provide the backbone behind the strong roasted character. 7.5% ABV, 36 IBU. 

    Cask Four with Rose Petals 
    Brewers Alex Ganum and Gerritt Ill set aside this special batch of Four with the infusion of rose petals picked in Alex's yard. The Four base is a recipe that uses a good portion of wheat and incorporates a sour mash into the process to make it slightly tart and extra refreshing. It has delicate aromas and flavors that span a range of floral, grassy and herbal notes. The finish is extra dry and makes the beer a great beverage to pair with food, especially various cheeses and shellfish. Malts: Organic Pale, Organic Wheat, Organic Munich Unmalted: Rolled Wheat Hops: Hallertauer Mittelfrüh. 4.5% ABV.

    Midnight Harvest VSB
    This year we will be bringing our Midnight Harvest beer again.  Only this year we brewed an Extra Special Bitter known as Vertigo Special Bitter, or VSB.  Brewer Mike Haines says “The hops again came out of my backyard and there were only enough to brew about 1 barrel.”  This means the beer is exclusive to KillerBeerFest. 

    Walking Man
    Hop-Along Fresh Hop IPA
    You may have been fortunate enough to try this beer at one of the regional fresh hops fests, but Bailey’s Taproom is pouring the only keg at a Portland pub. Hop-Along is a fresh hop IPA using Cascades from Roy Farms in Yakima. A light and crisp malt backbone let's the hops be the showcase. Brewer Jacob Leonard says “We used Gambrinus ESB malt for the base and some light caramel malts for the specialty malts as well as flakes barley to lighten the mouthfeel. It has a wonderful peachy aroma mixed with some pine and a nice chewy hop flavor.” 6.9% ABV, ~60 IBU.

    For more information on KillerBeerWeek please visit
    or contact Angelo De Ieso II (503) 449-4522

    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    Random 2010 GABF Pictures & Thoughts

    Here are some random pictures my wife and I took at the GABF this year. As you can tell we did more drinking than taking pictures!   Enjoy!
    The Falling Rock Looking A Little Blurry!

    2010 Alpha King Winner Jeff Bagby [Photo By Teresa Culp] 

    Alpha KingChallage Judging
    Friday Night Crowd at Uncle Billy's Booth
    Where am I now? [Photo By Chris Fowler]
    Bottles To Be Judged At Alpha King Challage

    Portland Friends Theo & Amanda [Photo By Teresa Culp]

    Real Ale Brewing Wins Gold for Rio Blanco Pale [Photo By Teresa Culp]

    On The Lager Train: Men With A Mission. [Photo By Chris Fowler]

    Tyler Brown & Shawn Kelso Bring Home Some GABF Love
    Brad Farbstein Owner of Real Ale Brewing with Gold Medal for Rio Blanco Pale  [Photo By Teresa Culp]
    Good Friends From Austin, TX  Dan & Joelle at Falling Rock