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!

Oregon Garden Brewfest - A REAL Father's Day Gift

Father's Day is fast approaching. If you know me at all, you probably know how I feel about Father's Day. If not, you should probably read my previously posted Father's Day Rant. Don't have that much time today? I'll paraphrase it for you:
Father's Day was created around the turn of the last century. My guess is that somebody finally decided to throw a bone to the "man of the house" and, purely as an after-thought, invented this flimsiest of the Hallmark Holidays.
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Father's Day is a big ol' rip-off of a holiday filled with bad BBQ, crowded brunch, and ugly ties. I've pretty much given up on the whole thing. In fact, for the last few years, I've gotten into the practice of Father's Day self-fulfillment. How do you do that, Wolf, you ask?  It's easy! There's an awesome beer festival on Father's Day weekend!

The Oregon Garden Brewfest runs from  Friday, June 16th to Sunday, June 18th at the beautiful Oregon Garden Resort. It's like a freaking Garden of Eden filled with BEER! It's a 21 and over event on Friday and Saturday, with rugrats allowed until 5PM on Sunday, I think you know what days I'm going... Just imagine, my Paternal Compadres: the kidlets stay home and pops can get his drink on with no scrappin' and no bawlin'! Come on! What could be better? How about a brewer's dinner and a cavalcade of entertainment?

Here's the PRESS RELEASE with oodles of info:

SILVERTON, Ore. — The Oregon Garden will kick off this year’s Oregon Garden Brewfest, presented by Venti’s Restaurants, with the 6th annual Brewer’s Tasting Dinner. The popular event will take place on June 15, the eve of the festival, at 7pm at the Oregon Garden Resort. There are a limited number of tickets available to the public at $60; tickets and more information are available athttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/brewers-tasting-dinner-2017-tickets-28794852178.

The Brewer’s Tasting Dinner serves six courses, each featuring a small-plate paired with a unique beer from one of six selected breweries. This year’s featured breweries include Agrarian Ales from Eugene, OR, Burnside Brewing Co from Portland, OR,Gilgamesh Brewing from Salem, OR, Mazama Brewing Co. from Corvallis, OR Pelican Brewing Co. fromPacific City, OR, and Wolf Tree Brewery from Seal Rock, OR.

Representatives from each of the breweries give a presentation about their beer during the dinner, which is attended by brewers participating in the festival, industry insiders and beer aficionados.

A special overnight package is available at the Oregon Garden Resort, which includes tickets to the Brewer’s Tasting Dinner and tickets to Oregon Garden Brewfest, starting at $259. Packages can be booked at oregongardenresort.com or by calling 503-874-2500. 

Located in the historic town of Silverton, just an hour south of Portland, the Oregon Garden Brewfest will take place Father’s Day weekend, June 16 through 18 and will feature 60 breweries pouring 120 beers, ciders and meads from throughout Oregon and across the country. There’s also live music and a variety of food and artisan vendors. The festival will again be held in the Rediscovery Forest, and attendees are welcome to explore the 80-acre botanical garden with beer in hand.

The Oregon Garden Brewfest is for ages 21 and over on Friday and Saturday evening; minors are welcome until 5pm on Saturday and all hours on Sunday.Admission ranges from $15 to $50; all admission packages include a souvenir tasting glass and a number of tasting tickets.Parking at The Oregon Garden is $5 per car; free shuttles are available from various locations in Silverton.

New this year is a family-friendly Father’s Day Fun Run that will start at 9am on Sunday, June 18th, and take place fully inside The Oregon Garden, winding through Garden paths and among 60,000 annual flowers planted in the Garden. Participants will receive admission into the festival, a t-shirt and a full glass of beer after the run. For more information visit: oregongarden.org/brewfest-5k/.

The Oregon Garden is also offering campsites on Garden property, just a short walk from the Oregon Garden Brewfest. Guests can choose between walk-in sites, RV sites and car-camping sites. Camping starts at just $120, and requires purchase of a 3-day festival pass.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Cheers to Belgian Beers 6/2 to 6/3


One of my favorite Portland beer festivals is going on right now! Cheers to Belgian Beers is also one of the most affordable local beer fests. Admission is FREE! A glass and 8 tasting tickets will set you back a mere twenty bucks. Deal! Here are the particulars:

When: Friday, June 2nd (1pm-9pm) & Saturday, June 3rd (noon-8pm)

Where: North Warehouse, 723 N. Tillamook St., Portland | Google Map VIEW HERE

How: Admission is free. There is a $20 charge for a glass and 8 drink tickets, which are required to taste. Additional tastes are 4 for $5 or $2 a piece. This is a 21 and over only event-no minors are allowed.

Follow on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hashtag #ctbb17

Here's the stellar TAPLIST

I'll be attending tomorrow, so it you're there right now, LEAVE SOME FOR ME!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Oregon Craft Beer by the Numbers

(PRESS RELEASE)

In a Changing Craft Beer Climate, Oregon Drinkers Continue to Support Their Local Brewers

PORTLAND, Ore. (April 19, 2017) — Today, the Oregon Brewers Guild released their annual numbers report for 2016. Overall, Oregon is seeing strong growth in employment and brewing company numbers, while production numbers and sales continue to hold strong and steady. Oregonians are drinking more Oregon beer. Beer consumption increased in 2016, with 23.3 percent of the 3.04 million barrels of all beer (both bottled and draft) consumed in the state were made in Oregon. 707,000 barrels of beer consumed by Oregonians in 2016 were made by an Oregon brewery, an 8.7 percent increase from 2015.

Oregon draft beer consumption stole an even larger market share, with Oregon breweries producing an estimated 64.9 percent of all draft beer consumed in the state. Barrel production in the state increased by 4.8 percent in 2016, coming in at a grand total of 1,782,000 barrels. More beer meant more people, with approximately 369,000 people visiting an Oregon brewery, pub, or tasting room on a weekly basis, or approximately 19,000,000 total visitors in 2016.
The Oregon brewing industry continues to support job growth in the state, employing roughly 31,000 Oregonians directly and indirectly, and contributing $4.49 billion to the state’s economy. Oregon’s brewing establishments employed 9,453 people in 2016 according to Damon Runberg, Economist with the Oregon Employment Department. Runberg says:
The job growth rate of 8.3 percent over the past the year is really impressive given that statewide total nonfarm growth during the same period was only 2.5 percent. The craft beer industry added around 1,340 jobs over the past two years, a growth of nearly 22 percent, which compares to a growth of 6.3 percent for total nonfarm growth during the same period. The count of jobs is an underestimate of the total employment impact, as newer brewing establishments and small owner-operated breweries are not included in the total count. The 2016 numbers are provided by the Oregon Employment Department using payroll tax records.

Hops also contribute largely to the Oregon economy. As the second largest hop growing state in the country, Oregon had a 2016 crop value of $34,564,000. Oregon’s 230 breweries continue to support their local economies and communities donating an estimated $3,000,000 to non-profits in 2016.

“Oregon is a consistent leader in the U.S. for craft beer whether it’s the number of breweries per capita, the percentage of dollars spent on craft beer, or the economic impact per capita by Oregon’s breweries,” says Brian Butenschoen, executive director of the Oregon Brewers Guild. “We continue to see an increase in the amount of manufacturing and service jobs added in the state and we saw Oregon breweries increase their export sales by 25.6 percent (650,000 case equivalents) in 2016. Oregon’s craft brewers sold a total of 1.075 million barrels in the U.S. and around the world last year, including barrels shipped to five Canadian provinces and 37 different countries.”

As of December 31, 2016 the state had 230 brewing companies operating 261 brewing facilities in 73 cities across the state, an increase of 15 brewing facilities in 2016.

Brewery count by city and region:

70 in Portland — 105 in the Portland Metro Area
14 in Eugene — 45 in the Willamette Valley
26 in Bend — 36 in Central Oregon
6 in Astoria — 27 on The Coast
6 in Medford — 24 in Southern Oregon
5 in Hood River — 12 in Mt. Hood/The Gorge
2 in Baker City + Ontario — 12 in Eastern Oregon

# # #

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/.


Monday, April 3, 2017

From the City of Roses and the City of Beer Festivals Comes “CITY OF GOSES” May 27 & 28

(PRESS RELEASE)

LABrewatory Hosts World’s Largest Celebration of Sour, Salted Beers

Beervana, OR, April 3, 2017 – CITY of GOSES, the largest and possibly first celebration strictly dedicated to gose-style beers is also the Portland Rose Festival’s first sanctioned beer fest. The two-day event held over Memorial Day weekend will feature 30 goses from Saxony to Stumptown. From über traditional versions on this salty, sour beer including imports from its source in Leipzig, Germany to takes from around Portland and across the globe, CITY of GOSES may require returning both days to fully enjoy the gamut gose has to offer. The fest takes place three blocks from the Albina/Mississippi Max station just one stop north of the Gose Quarter, er, Rose Quarter at LABrewatory (670 N. Russell St.). The event is Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28 from 1 - 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the gate. Tickets are available now at Merctickets.com/go/CityOfGoses .

Nearly one year ago, New Zealand native and Portland staple John Lovegrove texted pun-loving event-producer Brian Yaeger. The note read, "Brace yourself...The City of Goses...That totally has a Brian Yaeger Presents feel about it." Yep. In a world where sour beers are increasingly sought after, lower-alcohol session ales have a foothold, and warmer weather always calls for the most refreshing beer, it’s no surprise today’s craft brewers are exploring gose (pronounced gose-uh). This wheat ale brewed with salt, coriander, and tart lactic acid originated between the 12th and 15th centuries in Goslar in Lower Saxony though it’s identified mostly with Leipzig in Saxony. Each participating brewery delivers a distinct spin via selected salts and additional ingredients.

Admission includes a souvenir glass and additional tasting tickets will be available for $1 each. With one exception, all beers will be one (1) ticket per four-ounce sample and four (4) tickets for a 14-ounce pour. Samples from the last keg on Earth of Cascade Brewing’s 2010 Summer Gose, will be two (2) tickets and not available as a full pour. LABrewatory will have a selection of non-gose house beers available as well.

The mostly Portland line-up includes: Baerlic, Burnside, Cascade, Coalition (featuring hemp extracted CBD), The Commons, Culmination, Deschutes-PDX, Ecliptic, Great Notion, Hopworks, Little Beast, Occidental (Germanic brewery’s first solo foray into German-style sour beer), Rogue, Stormbreaker, Widmer Bros., and Zoiglhaus (where braumeister Alan Taylor brews the original recipe from Goslar and has trained in Leipzig). Host brewery LABrewatory will have a collaboration with Cerveza Loba in Portland Sister City Guadalajara.

Some of the breweries from beyond the City of Roses include four from California—Anderson Valley, Bruery Terreux (getting into the spirit with a gose featuring rose petals, rose hips, and rose water), Modern Times, and Sierra Nevada—plus the GABF gold medal winning gose from Reuben's in Seattle, Oedipus (from Amsterdam), and naturally, Ritterguts the traditional classic imported from Leipzig.

CITY of GOSES is all-ages event. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Caldera, the Portland arts organization that serves as a catalyst for the transformation of underserved youth through art and environmental programs.

Pertinent links: Ticketing Merctickets.com/go/CityOfGoses ($15 online, $20 at the gate.)
Facebook: Facebook.com/CityOfGoses
Twitter: @The_CityOfGoses
Visit LABrewatory online at Labrewatory.com or, y’know, in person at 670 N. Russell St.

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!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Beer Party PDX Announces First Event: Launch Party!


(PRESS RELEASE)
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!