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

(PRESS RELEASE)

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!


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

First Annual Brewfest in the Park 6/23 - 6/25

(PRESS RELEASE)


Beer & cider lineup released for first annual BrewFest in the Park; family friendly event takes place June 23-25 at Overlook Park

PORTLAND, Ore. – Grab your picnic blankets, bikes, the kids & the dog for the first annual BrewFest in the Park. The event is taking place June 23 through June 25, at Portland’s Overlook Park, 1599 N Fremont St. Event hours are Noon to 9pm Friday and Saturday and Noon to 5pm Sunday.

BrewFest in the Park will serve more than 60 craft beverages – including beer, cider and mead – from 41 different brewing companies. There will also be food carts (Bunk Sandwiches, The Dump Truck and Urban German Grill), vendors, a Crater Lake Soda Garden for minors and designated drivers, games for adults (volleyball, cornhole and washer toss), and a children’s area with activities and free face painting – all taking place in a beautiful park setting.

The styles at the event range from ciders to cream ales, ambers to lagers, and fruit beers to IPAs. Most, though not all, of the products have been brewed using a minimum of 70% organic ingredients, per USDA guidelines. A list of participants, their products, and their organic status can be viewed on the website at http://BrewfestinthePark.com/participating-breweries; a sortable spreadsheet can also be viewed on Google Drive

BrewFest in the Park coincides with the Sunday Parkways North Portland route on June 25 from 11am to 4pm; the family is welcome to stop by after the ride, park the bikes in the Hopworks Urban Brewery Bike Corral and enjoy some refreshing craft beverages, including handcrafted soda. Picnic blankets, chairs, non-alcoholic beverages and outside food are allowed at the event.

Tickets for the event are on sale now, and early purchasers receive an additional five tasting tickets. Advance packages cost $25 per individual and include the festival mug, 15 drink tickets, a wristband, and free re-entry all weekend (with wristband & mug). Packages at the door cost $25 per individual and include the festival mug, 10 drink tickets, a wristband, and free re-entry all weekend (with wristband & mug). Advance packages are on sale now through Bold Type Tickets at http://merctickets.com/events/43891630/brew-fest-in-the-park.

Designated drivers may purchase a ticket for $5 at the door, which includes handcrafted Crater Lake Soda and a bottle of water; designated drivers are not allowed to consume any alcohol. Minors under the age of 21 receive free admission, but must be accompanied by a parent. Leashed pets accompanied by responsible owners are welcome.

Most products cost one ticket for a taste and four tickets for a full mug. Select products, including some beers and most meads and ciders, will cost extra tickets. Additional drink tickets are available at the festival for $1 apiece. 

The festival encourages responsible drinking and urges patrons to take advantage of the MAX Light Rail; the Yellow Line Overlook Park Station is adjacent to the festival. Attendees can also take advantage of the Hopworks Urban Brewery Bike Corral, where volunteers watch over bikes for free. Patrons receive an extra ticket with a validated Tri-Met ticket or a ticket from the Hopworks Bike Corral (only one extra ticket per person). 

This festival benefits the Timbers Army 107IST (Independent Supporters Trust), whose mission is to support soccer in and around Portland, Oregon, from the grassroots to the highest professional level. The 107IST is a member-based non-profit organization open to anyone who loves soccer, the Timbers/Thorns, and Portland.

# # #

Website: BrewFestinthePark.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrewFestinthePark
Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1518728001479787/
Twitter: @BrewFestinPark
Instagram: @BrewFestinthePark
Hashtag: #BFITP17

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Reuben's Brews Release Events in PDX


I've been hearing a lot about Reuben's Brews. This is the Seattle, WA brewer who so fiendishly collaborated with Fort George and Great Notion on this year's amazing 3-Way IPA. I gotta tell ya, that beer has certainly raised my interest in Reuben's Brews, and I've heard nothing but praise for their regular line-up from folks in the know. (I'm always the last to know.)

Gratefully, Reuben's Brews brews are coming to Portland and a number of release events have been scheduled across town at some of the very best taprooms. Check out the schedule above. I'll definitely be attending the party at Alberta Street Pub this Friday...and perhaps a few more. I'm excited! Are you excited? I'll post my reviews of Reuben's Brews shortly!