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

(PRESS RELEASE)

THIS JUST IN FROM BAERLIC BREWING COMPANY:

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)
(PRESS RELEASE)


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