Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fresh Hops Are HERE! Part 2

Fresh Hops Galore!
In my previous posting, I listed a number of Portland breweries that currently have their own fresh hop beers on tap. Of course, there are myriad taprooms, bars and beer drinking establishments throughout the greater Portland area with extensive, eclectic and deliciously current tap lists that cannot be forgotten.

If you look over at the sidebar on my lil' ol' blog, you will see links to many, many PDX tap lists. (Okay, you won't see them on your phone, only on an actual computer or tablet. I'm too technologically challenged to make it THAT convenient for you.) Check out all of those links! A bunch of them have fresh hop beers on tap already! Score!

Once again, I've perused the lists and provided you with a handy synopsis of the current offerings. (You're welcome, AGAIN!) Of course, this would be AS OF RIGHT NOW. I strongly recommend that you double check by looking at my taproom list on the left sidebar, or call the bar. Taps change constantly.

  • Imperial Bottle Shop and Taproom (Division)
    • Lompoc Brewing Fresh Hop Death Punch Golden Ale
    • Mazama Brewing Mazama Green Magic Fresh Hop Pale Ale
    • Montavilla Brew Works Tangled Up In Hops Fresh Hop IPA
    • Finnriver Cidery Fresh Hop Cider
  • ABV Public House
    • Ex Novo Brewing Fresh Hop Eliot IPA (Amarillo)
    • Baerlic Brewing Fresh Hop Hellsner Helles Lager
  • Apex
    • Fremont Brewing Fresh Hop Centennial Pale Ale
    • Double Mountain Brewery - Fresh Hop Killer Red IPA
  • Bailey's Taproom
    • Double Mountain Brewery - Fresh Hop Killer Red IPA
  • Belmont Station
    • Double Mountain Brewery - Fresh Hop Killer Red IPA
    • Mazama Brewing Mazama Green Magic Fresh Hop Pale Ale
  • Fat Heads
    • Hop Stalker Fresh Hop IPA
  • 15th Avenue Hophouse
    • Level Brewing Game On! Fresh Hop Pale Ale
    • Mazama Brewing Mazama Green Magic Fresh Hop Pale Ale
  • The BeerMongers
    • Fremont Brewing Field to Ferment Fresh Hop Pale
  • Tin Bucket
    • Level Brewing Game On! Fresh Hop Pale Ale
  • Portland Cider House (Hawthorne)
    • New West Cider Fresh Hop Cider
    • Finnriver Cidery Fresh Hop Cider
    • Portland Cider Fresh Hop Cider
  • Horse Brass Pub
    • Two Beers Brewing - Fresh Citra Hop IPA
    • Fremont Brewing Field to Ferment Fresh Hop Pale Ale

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fresh Hops Are Coming! Fresh Hops Are HERE!

Hops, Wonderful Hops!
Fresh hop season is upon us! I know because I have a whole bunch of beautiful homegrown hops to harvest this weekend. I've got Cascade, Willamette and Zeus Hops, all looking pretty spectacular.  Of course, looks don't mean much if you can't brew worth a crap. Urp, sorry, but I'm going to try my best.

Gratefully, folks won't have to rely on my brewing skills in order to partake of some tasty, fresh hop beers. Soon, we'll have fresh hop festivals galore to attend. (I must say, I'm a little worried about the Hood River Hops Fest. It's always one of my favorites. What with the fires in the Gorge and the closing of I-84, I imagine there will be an impact.)

Fresh hop beers will be on tap in breweries across the city very soon. There are also a few Portland breweries with fresh hop beers ALREADY on tap. I made a few phone calls so you don't have to! You're welcome! Just raise a pint to me when you're passing this delicious stuff through your lips and over your quivering taste buds.

  • Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom
    • Killer Green IPA
    • Killer Red IPA
    • (Fresh Hop Lion IPA coming soon!)
  • Labrewatory
    • So Fresh, So Clean IPA
  • Ex Novo Brewing Company
    • Fresh Hop Eliot IPA w/ Simcoe
    • Fresh Hop Eliot IPA w/ Amarillo
  • Laurelwood Brewing Company
    • Fresh Hop Free Range Red
    • Lowerwood Fresh Hop Pale Ale (collab w/ Lowercase Brewing)
  • Alameda Brewing Co
    • Solar Cone Pale Ale
  • Baerlic Brewing Co
    • Fresh Hop Hellsner Helles Lager
    • Fresh Hop Early Bird Pale Ale
    • Fresh Hop Pioneer ESB
  • Montavilla Brew Works
    • Tangled Up In Hops IPA
    • Pocket Full of Goschies Red Ale
  • McMenamins
    • Ben's Fresh Hop Ale

Enjoy! I'll update this list as I receive more information.

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


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!