Tuesday, February 21, 2017

On Politics and Beer...

I couldn't find a "political" beer
photo, so here's a beer and a
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!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Beer Party PDX Announces First Event: Launch Party!

Fundraiser for the ACLU
Portland, Ore.: Beer Party PDX, a grassroots organization of local industry leaders, is excited to announce their first fundraising event. Coinciding with President’s Day, the event on Monday, February 20, 2017 is intended to increase awareness of civil rights issues and will raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Beer Party PDX’s stated 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.” The founding members include bar and brewery owners, brewers, business consultants, and writers.

The Beer Party PDX Launch Event takes place on Monday, February 20 at participating businesses. 100% of the revenue from donated kegs will go to the ACLU. Participating bars include Bailey’s Taproom, Bazi Bierbrasserie, Beer Mongers, Belmont Station, Imperial, Lombard House, Roscoe’s, Saraveza, The Thirsty Sasquatch, The Upper Lip, Tin Bucket, and Uptown Market. Breweries that have provided kegs include Baerlic, Base Camp, Bull Run Cider, Burnside, Cider Riot!, Coalition, Crooked Fence, Culmination, Double Mountain, Heater Allen, Machine House, Matchless, Montavilla, New Belgium, Ninkasi, Pfriem, Ruse, The Commons, Three Magnets, Uptown Market, and Vertigo.

This is the first of many planned events with the intent of garnering attention for civil rights issues and increasing participation and action on local, statewide, and national levels.

If you would like to participate in a future event, or want to inquire about becoming a member of Beer Party PDX or hosting a Beer Party event, visit www.beerpartypdx.org or email us at beerpartypdx@gmail.com.

About Beer Party PDX:  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.
(A message from me, Wolf Linderman, Beer Guy PDX: I'm proud to be a founding member of this amazing group! Keep an eye out for MORE events to come! Together we can ensure that the Land of the Free remains that way--for everyone! Watch social media for #BeerPartyPDX)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Laurelwood Brewing Company - Belgian Golden Ale

An unFlemished Reputation?
They've been making beer in Belgium for centuries. In fact, some of the oldest, continuously operating breweries in the world are found within the confines of that little nation bordered by France, Germany, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Hey, brewing beer essentially FOREVER means that you've pretty much got that shi..uh..stuff DOWN! I mean, the practice batches were over a long time ago!

It used to be that whenever I would see a Belgian STYLE beer brewed here in the US of A, I would immediately lower my expectations. Typically, the best I could expect was a worthy attempt, the good ol' college try. However, I've sampled quite a few Belgianesque brews lately that definitely did not disappoint! The American Craft Beer industry just keeps getting better and better and now arguably puts out some of the very best beer on the planet, including many Belgian styles.

Tonight, I'm drinking a Belgian (style) Golden Ale brewed by Portland's Laurelwood Brewing Company. The beer comes with an ABV that clocks in at 7.2% and IBU's at 30. I picked up the bomber at New Seasons. I'm not sure, but I believe the 22 oz bomber set me back about five bucks.

The beer poured into my chalice (yes, it's a chalice) a beautiful light, golden orange color. The white head rose up to an inch tall and dissipated at a moderate rate. A thin cap of spotty lacing was left behind. What a pretty beer! Very photogenic, I must say.

Aroma was subtle hints of pear, apple, and clove. Banana. Bready yeast and light malt. Floral and herbal notes.

Taste followed the nose. Apple and pear. Yeast. Grain. Spicy, but no alcohol taste or sting. Hops flavor and mild bitterness in the background.

Medium mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. Flavors livened up as in warmed a bit. Crisp, dry finish. Belgian spice and mild hops flavor left on the palate at the end.

Overall, this is dang tasty Belgian-style beer! It's a  grown-up beer with plenty of flavor and character. Does it stack up side-by-side to a Belgian classic like Duvel? Don't go crazy, but the drinkability and affordability of Laurelwood's Belgian (style) Golden Ale make it a keeper in my book. Good stuff!

I'm giving this one a respectable BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 crushed cans out of 4. I recommend!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ninkasi Brewing Company - R&D Tripel Belgian-Style Tripel Ale

Tripel your pleasure, tripel
your fun...
When I want a Belgian tripel, my go-to is always St. Bernardus. It's virtually flawless. What a fantastic beer. It truly deserves to be sipped from a chalice. It's also not easy to find. And it's expensive. Wouldn't it be nice to have a tasty Belgian-style tripel in my supermarket's cold case at a price that is fairly reasonable? Yes, I think that would by very nice.

The other day, while I was perusing through the beer aisle at my local Green Zebra, I spied a bomber of Ninkasi Brewing Company's R&D Tripel. $8.99 for the 22 ounces. Not exactly cheap, but much less expensive than an actual Belgian tripel of the same size...

Major digression alert! Years ago I found 750ml bottles of Koenigshoeven Trappist beers--three varieties--at Big Lots for a dollar a bottle! I bought three cases. What a deal! Two bottles were flat when I opened them, but otherwise, they were perfect.

Could this locally brewed Belgian-style tripel ale be the answer to my prayers and beer budget woes? Let's Find out!

The beer poured into my St. Bernardus goblet a clear golden orange color with a bubbly white head. The head rose up to about a 1/2 inch tall and dissipated quickly. A thin cap and small ring of foam were left behind. Delicate lacing formed on the glass as I  sipped it down.

Aroma was spot-on Belgian tripel. Belgian yeast. Light grain. Somewhat bready. Banana and clove. Indistinct citrus. Over-ripe fruit--apple and pear. Floral notes. Lots of nice things going on in the nose.

Taste followed the nose. Sweet and fruity, but with a spicy hops bitterness. Not at all cloying. DANG! This beer comes really close. Probably the best Oregon brewed Belgian-style beer I've ever had.

Medium mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. Crisp finish with no hint of alcohol burn in this 9.2% ABV beer.

Overall, this is a wonderful beer! A legitimate representation of the style that I will purchase whenever I find it in the cold case. I'm giving R&D Tripel a BeerGuyPDX rating of 3 1/2 crushed cans but with one extra 1/2 can--for a perfect rating--because it's such a unique local find. Thanks, Ninkasi!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Zwickelmania Expands to Two Weekends


February 18th in Portland and February 25th throughout the state

Zwickelmania! Oregon breweries open their doors once again, for this annual February tradition. In 2017, Zwickelmania will take place over two weekends. In Portland, it will be on Presidents' Day weekend on 2/18/17. The rest of Oregon will be celebrating the following weekend on 2/25/17. Over 120 breweries throughout Oregon welcome beer enthusiasts for meet-the-brewer events, tours, and beer tastings.

Throughout Oregon’s beer regions including, but not limited to:
The Portland Metro Area, Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Gorge/Mt. Hood/ Columbia, Southern Oregon, the Coast and the Willamette Valley.
Visit http://www.oregoncraftbeer.org/zwickelmania for a regularly updated list of participating breweries and cities.

February 18, 2017 — Portland Metro Area
February 25, 2017 — Central Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Gorge/Mt. Hood/Columbia, Southern Oregon, the Coast and the Willamette Valley 
o Time: 11am – 4pm, both dates
For more information, head to Oregoncraftbeer.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #Zwickel17.

About The Oregon Brewers Guild
The Oregon Brewers Guild is Oregon’s non-profit trade association for the state’s independent breweries. The Guild, which receives no state funding, comprises 160 brewing companies, 125 associate or supplier members and nearly 4,000 enthusiast members or S.N.O.B.s (Supporters of Native Oregon Beer). For more information, see http://oregoncraftbeer.org/.

About Zwickelmania
Zwickelmania, created by the Oregon Brewers Guild, celebrated its inaugural year in 2009. It takes its name from the zwickel, or sample port which mounts on the outside of fermentation or conditioning tanks and allows brewers to sample for quality assurance and control. Similarly, Zwickelmania offers a unique opportunity to taste beers where they were produced and interact with the brewers who created them.