It’s Ash Wednesday today, this February 10th, which means Easter is just 46 days away. Break out the Bocks! Here’s the news in Oregon beer; as usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back often for updates. And if you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated as well.
The German pub Stammtisch in Portland is kicking off their first annual Starkbier Fest today in conjunction with Prost! German pub. The fest will run through Sunday, the 14th. “Join us for Portland’s first annual Starkbier Fest! This lent tradition dates back to the middle ages, when monks would fast from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday. Because the monks believed that liquids not only cleansed the body but also the soul, they would make plenty of liquid instead of solid bread from their grain, and then drink it in copious quantities…the more, the holier. While our fast won’t last 46 days, we can still celebrate their sacrifice by consuming delicous strong biers. We will have featured doppelbocks on draft and in bottles as well as special bier-paired menu items created by Chef Graham Chaney to help you absorb these high ABV beers.” They’ve got a terrific line up of all German beers you’ll want to check out, fortunately you have through the rest of the week to do so.
Belmont Station (Portland) is hosting a bottle tasting with Albany’s Calapooia Brewing today from 5 to 7pm: “Some of us remember when Calapooia first hit the world right smack on the nose with their chili beer (still one of the best, even for those of us who don’t like chili beers)! Others might not have ever tried it. Either way, it’s time to give it a taste either for the first time or once again! Along with the infamous chili beer, we will also be tasting their Flood Stage Red Ale.”
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The inaugural Kriekfest is coming this July (July 9, 2016 to be exact) in Parkdale, Oregon, and tickets went on sale today. If you have any interest in cherry beers and ciders, this is something you might want to consider attending, and buying tickets sooner rather than later is recommended. Here’s the press release:
When the inaugural Kriekfest was first announced on July 9, 2015, brewers had a full year to procure fresh cherries to go into their sour beers or ciders since cherries are harvested in July and because beverages of this nature tend to take at least a year to produce. It was also announced that tickets would go on sale five months in advance. That day has come. Kriekfest 2016 tickets are now available at merctickets.com/go/Kriekfest. They are $25 [including five (5) tickets for four (4)-ounce pours and a commemorative glass] online and limited to 500. The event is expected to sell-out, but if there are some available they will be $28 at the gate on Saturday, July 9, 2016< in the small, rural town of Parkdale.
The line-up has changed slightly and has grown to include not just one but two beers from Austin, Texas’s famed Jester King Brewery (Detritivore and Montmorency vs. Balaton), a collaboration blend between Portland’s own Cascade and Berkeley, California’s celebrated The Rare Barrel (a sour golden ale aged on cherries and figs), and another new treat from Northern California: an unreleased version of Almanac Beer Co.’s Dogpatch Sour made with cherries (of course) and whole vanilla beans. Festival organizers are working on confirming a couple more Belgian imports beyond the confirmed rarities from Cantillon and Drie Fonteinen. The complete list can be viewed at kriekfest.com/pouring-at-fest.html
Situated between Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, Parkdale lies sixty miles east of Portland. Highway 35, which runs from Hood River, is nicknamed the Fruit Loop for its fertile farms including abundant cherry orchards. The festival’s setting next to host Solera Brewery offers striking views of iconic Mt. Hood and the surrounding orchards. For more information about Kriekfest, visit Kriekfest.com and follow at @Kriekfest
Disclosure: this fest is being organized by my friend and fellow beer writer Brian Yaeger and I thought it was a cool idea when he first mentioned it to me. Otherwise I’ve had no part in its planning or organization but I’m happy to get the word out.
And if you wanted to know a bit more about Kriekfest itself, here’s the “about” blurb from the release:
An all-cherry beer and cider festival was initially conceived in 2013 over a Solera beer. Awe-struck by the view of Mt. Hood’s glaciers looming over neighboring orchards, Yaeger suggested to [Solera Brewery brewmaster Jason] Kahler that they create their own festival of krieks. Attendees are encouraged to camp in the valley for the weekend and explore the breweries, cideries, and farms along the Fruit Loop highway and throughout the Columbia River Gorge.
Happy Mardi Gras! It’s Fat Tuesday so grab your beads and celebrate with beer, of course! Untappd even has a badge. Here’s the news in Oregon beer to go along with the shenanigans. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day, so check back often for the latest news. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated as well.
Belmont Station (Portland) has a bottle tasting with San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing today from 5 to 7pm: “Come try the new brews that Ballast Point’s released: Pineapple Sculpin, Watermelon Dorado, Mango Even Keel and Ginger Big Eye. Sounds like a fruit salad, but it’s even better! And in the taproom: a truly one-off firkin of Sculpin IPA with blackcurrant, Three Sheets Barleywine and Peppermint Victory at Sea Imperial Porter.”
McMenamins on Monroe (Corvallis) has their monthly Meet Your Maker tasting taking place today from 4 to 7pm, featuring Penny’s Golden: “Presenting a crisp Golden Ale with a slight English twist! An Oak Spiral has been mingling with Penny’s Golden for one and a half fortnights, leaving a very refreshing beer with a unique spice and juniper fueled dryness. Cascade Hops provide flavor and aroma, while the Gin and oak infusion gives you a ” zip, tang, pow!” (highly technical brewing terms) of botanical goodness. This combination of ingredients was inspired by my home brewing partner’s favorite drink, the Gin and Tonic.” Brewer Gary Nance will be on hand to talk about the beer and answer questions.
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Beer sent and acquired today from Coronado Brewing out of San Diego was three bottles’ worth, two of their latest seasonal Imperial IPA, Sock Knocker, and the third another of one they previously sent, Stingray IPA.
I can already tell you the Stingray IPA is quite good; I have high hops for the Sock Knocker as well.
Cheers to everyone who participated in this month’s edition of The Session! Here’s the roundup of contributions; I believe I have listed all of them, but if there are any I missed please leave a comment below.
Nick over at Lautering.net relates a time over a decade ago when he was traveling home for Christmas on the German autobahn and got snowed in overnight—in the car! Fortunately he had a beer with him, a Berlin Kindel pilsner.
At Likely Moose, Looke points out that Bedfordshire, England doesn’t get much snow, but relates a story of visiting the Ice Bar in Amsterdam—which sadly only serves one type of Lager: “in Amsterdam, you’ve got two choices and its not Amstel.”
In Boak & Bailey‘s corner of England, Cornwall, they don’t get snow, just the rain—“Rain and gales.” Pub-drinking weather, though if it does get bad, they will find themselves “huddling by the fire with Fuller’s Vintage Ale, Adnams Tally Ho or Harvey’s Imperial Stout.”
The Beer Nut describes a recent barrel-aged barleywine tasting, one aged in Jack Daniels bourbon barrels, another in brandy, which sounds like a lovely snowy winter evening activity. And decides that if he were stuck in the snowed in cabin in the mountains, would likely pick a session beer to winter with.
My friend and fellow Bend beer blogger, Mark the Bend Beer Librarian, digs right down into this topic with gusto, covering the slew of ideas I put together. And yes, you’ll be drooling too when reading through the cellar considerations!
Over at A Good Beer Blog, Alan is at a bit of a loss; while being very aware of the season, Canadians ignore winter. Alan is cocooned up. “What’s that got to do with beer? I have no idea. I’m still working through the leftover Christmas liqueurs trying to cope. See you in March.” (For what it’s worth, I’ve got the Christmas liqueurs around as well…)
The Bottle Muse tackles the snow head on, living in New England where the snow accumulates and needs to be shoveled. Solution? Beer! “You’re probably doubting me right now, but if you haven’t experienced an 8am beer kept cold in a snowbank, while you shovel three feet of snow, then you’re doing it wrong.” Bonus points for beer-and-shoveling pairings!
Thomas at Yours for Good Fermentables recalls a story from ’93 about finding a barleywine on tap to combat a chill Virginia winter evening. And a bonus: it appears he started his blog in 2002, predating mine—alas, The Brew Site is no longer the oldest U.S. beer blog (that I know of) but pretty close!
Sean over at Beer Search Party seems to be that rare southern Californian that isn’t a fan of the heat; “cold winds get my blood circulating and to me there is no happier moment than sitting in a comfy chair with a blanket and a beer.” Sean would prefer to stay in when the snow hits rather than sled his way to the bottle shop.
Back on the east coast, Jack at Deep Beer looks forward to the Russian Imperial Stouts when the snow piles up, and recently drank Bell’s Expedition Stout during just such a snowstorm. Sounds pretty fine to me! Plus a nice callout to the book Vintage Beer, as Jack notes that Expedition Stout should age beautifully.
In San Diego, it was dropping into the 40s recently—wintertime in a city that’s normally in the 70s!—and Kyle at Embracing Limitations writes about tasting a lambic-style beer with friends that he brewed while living in Bolivia. “Not quite the best pairing for a chilly 50 degree night on the Karl Strauss patio at a homebrew club meeting, but a nice California winter memory to savor for a long time.”
Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer doesn’t get much snow in St. Louis — “If you can walk to a brewery in 20 minutes you are not snowed in” — but Stan relates a ski trip to Durango, Colorado where there was plenty of snow, as well as beer from Ska Brewing. Though the picture with the PBR is pretty classic.
Over at Community Beer Works, Dan ruminates from the couch (he has the flu) on the perfect winter temperature to serve beer at, and shares “the little bit of genius I’ve learned about beer storage during the winter: use your basement.” It comes out perfect at drinking time.
There you have it; counting my own post which can be found here, that gives us 14 contributions for the February Session, which seems to be par for the course these days. If there are any more that roll in, I’ll update this list.
Next month, the March Session will be hosted by Mark at Bend Beer Librarian; keep an eye out for the announcement post!