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!