Jon 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).
Now, 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.