The Spring Beer & Wine Fest starts today in Portland

Spring Beer & Wine FestThe 20th annual Spring Wine & Beer Fest kicks off at noon today at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. Admission is free today only for the first 500 guests when the doors open.

If you’re not lucky enough to be among the first 500, you can purchase a ticket package online; or at the door, prices are:

  • Admission . . . . . . . . . . .. .$8.00
  • Souvenir beer glass . . . . $10.00
  • Souvenir wine glass . . . . $6.00
  • Plastic Beer mug . . . . . . .$6.00
  • Sampling tokens . . . . . .. .$1.00

Apparently this year only, since it’s the 20th anniversary, you can actually “Bring your favorite SB&WFest souvenir glass from past years to use” which is a good deal. Another new feature (touted on their home page) is growler filling stations, for which you can get one of their growlers filled for $16. (A natural extension of the growler craze of the past several years.)

The Fest runs all weekend, with a bit of a trade show air to it (or so I understand; it’s one of the festivals that I’ve never been to), where attendees can not only try beers, wines, and spirits, but also cheeses, chocolates, and other gourmet foods, and a variety of other goods and services (cutlery, jewelry, hats, trips, etc.). They’re hosting a good-looking list of breweries and cideries pouring some good stuff.

At 20 years this is one of the longer-running beer fests in the state, definitely worth a look if you haven’t been.

Columbia Distributing Spring Beverage Trade Show

Columbia Distributing Spring ShowJon and I attended the 2014 Columbia Distributing Spring Beverage Show last night. Exclusive invitations are sent out to those on Columbia’s contacts and retailers for a preview of beverages for the upcoming seasons that go out to businesses for public consumption. We’ve attended a few in the past and I’ve enjoyed fantastic small bites (because you need food  when sampling alcohol) as well as talking with the representatives as they sample their wares of the staples as well as new items that will be available for the public shortly if not already out.

I noticed an invitation from the Central Oregon Beer Angels and Jon and I were off to attend after his day job ended. We showed up about halfway through the show and it was in full swing. I noted to the organizer that this was a fantastic turnout and he noted that this was the best ever (obviously, with Bend breweries and growler stations growing, so would the trade show).

Once inside, our first taste was at the first table just inside the entrance. A Coors Light Summer Brew. Yes, a Coors Light was our first sample at a Beverage show in Craft Beer town, Bend. It wasn’t bad and I had the rep pour Jon a taste. It is a citrus radler beer with a light lemon flavor and it did have a slight Coors Light taste at the end. Don’t discount trying this, it’s good and would be quite refreshing on a hot summer day. Really.

Next, I moved onto Woodchuck’s Summer and Raspberry Cider. I very much liked the Summer Cider being a blueberry flavor as well as the sample of Raspberry.  Then, I noticed Mike’s hard lemonade across the way and moved over there. First thing that caught my eye was a Hard Peach Lemonade as well as a Blood Orange Lemonade that were quite good. I think I liked the Peach slightly better as it was slightly sweeter, but I’ll definitely get my hands on both this summer.

Next booth was Joose Cocktail variety and I made my way over to that booth.  I started with the Margarita (made with real tequila flavor, triple sec and salt), then worked up to the (I believe) Peach Margarita, Screwdriver (made with a Natural Navel Orange Juice) and then a Hurricane (with Natural Pineapple and Orange flavors). When I noted that the Hurricane was my favorite because of the Pineapple, the rep stated that most people aren’t into that one because of the pineapple flavor. I can see that because it was probably the sweetest of the bunch (I’d just tasted the very sweet ciders to then go to a Margarita flavor, so my flavor profile in the beginning might not have been so good).

Rogue Beard BeerNow, in a Beverage Trade show, you would expect to see all beverages. This time, there was Chef’s Cut Real Steak, Turkey, and Chicken Jerky.  We tasted the Real Steak Original Recipe, Original Turkey jerky, the Roasted Red Chile Chicken jerky and I believe Jon tasted the Chipotle Cracked Pepper Steak jerky. While I liked all that I tasted, I enjoyed the Turkey jerky and both Jon and I walked away with a bag, thanks to the nice rep. We will enjoy snacks at the Oregon Garden Brewfest next week.

I had to see what this orange ginger beer from Crabbie’s was about and the rep had me start out with their Original Ginger Beer and it tasted like Ginger Ale. There was no taste of beer, even with it being 4.8% alcohol. The rep squirted lime in there after I’d tasted the original and it gave a boosted taste. There were floaties of ginger in there and could help if you don’t feel so good (I’d assume) since ginger is healing. The next beer was the Orange Ginger Beer and I liked that. A squirt of orange was a perfect compliment. I’ll need to try without all the other ginger and ciders of the night.

Other noteworthy items were a Marionberry Braggot from Rogue Brewing that should be out for summer in I believe late May. Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider had a bottle that they were not sampling that was Sacrilege Sour Cherry that I will keep an eye out for to purchase because I think I would like that. The other noteworthy item is at Rogue’s booth, Jon finally got a sample of the Beard Beer, which honestly made me shudder a bit, but he said it wasn’t what he thought it would be and was pretty good.

Received: Crux [Banished] Better Off Red

I received a package from Crux Fermentation Project over the weekend, containing the latest in their “Banished” series of (barrel-aged) beers: Better Off Red.

Crux Better Off Red

This is a Flanders-style red ale, 7% abv, described as:

Flanders Reds may be called the Burgundies of Belgium, but we age our take on this complex, slightly tart style in Oregon Pinot Noir barrels for nearly a year. A fresh batch will present spicier notes while older versions pick up more oak and yield cherry flavors. So we blended them figuring we’re better off presenting this exotic mélange simultaneously.

Apparently they only bottled about 100 cases of this beer so it’s fairly limited. And Crux is holding the release party this Saturday the 19th.

Oregon Beer News, Week of 4/14/2014

Oregon BeerHere is the news in Oregon beer for the week starting Monday, April 14, general news at the top, and day-specific items organized below accordingly. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the week so keep checking in for new information. And if you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted as well.

The 2014 World Beer Cup took place last week during the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver, and naturally there were a number of Oregon winners, with the big one being the Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City for the “Champion Brewery and Brewmaster” award in the “Small Brewing Company” category—congrats to Darron Welch and Steve Panos! The complete winners list is here, with Oregon represented well by Hop Valley, Widmer, 10 Barrel, Bend Brewing, The Commons, Gigantic, Old Town Brewing, Logsdon, Laurelwood, Two Kilts Brewing, Barley Brown’s, Beer Valley Brewing, and the new Chetco Brewing!

The Bier Stein (Eugene) is celebrating one year at their Willamette Street location all this week, starting Monday and lasting until Friday: “Because we love to celebrate, we’ll be tapping some special beers throughout the week, as recognition that “we made it!” It’s been a great year, and we couldn’t have done it without the show of support from you, our customers. We have a small but delicious vintage beer collection, and we’ll be tapping some of these along with some brand new and fresh beer from our local brewing friends. Our beer buyer Dave and Beer Ambassador Aaron went and brewed a hoppy pale ale – Hoppy Nano Beer – with Trevor at Claim 52; that will be tapped on the 15th, our official anniversary. The following day, we will tap a handful of Agrarian Ales beer, utilizing their common suffix “-ity” for our -Ity Bitty Flight. That event will include Spontaneity, their first ever spontaneously fermented beer! Keep an eye on our taplist for other new and rare beers.”

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