The second day of the Oregon Brewers Festival started, as Portland mornings do, overcast and cool but very pleasant, giving us a nice, mellow afternoon for drinking even more beer. We arrived right as it opened at noon and got a good table next the Buzz Tent which we stayed at rather than wandering the length of the park.
I worked my way down my must-try list for the South Tent beers, and grabbed a few good ones from the Buzz Tent as well; all in all I sampled ten beers and in the end crossed 16 of the 20 off of my list.
Dunedin IPA Chronicle: FL-Oregon Trail: There was already a line formed for this beer, for two reasons: popularity and keg troubles. The keg must have been shaken up or something just prior, as the volunteer was getting lots of foam and heavy yeasty cloudiness out of the tap; not his fault at all, but when I got my sample it was definitely not representative of what the beer should have been, unfortunately. It was a muddy orange-brown, full of chunkies, and I’m pretty sure this killed the hoppiness.
Old Market Pub Cherried Alive: Nice deep ruby red color. Tart cherry is the prominent flavor; it’s not really sweet though (which I was hoping for) and there’s a bit of earthy character (cherry pits?).
Oakshire 25: Lemony and slightly tart both in the nose and on the tongue. This is a fun, lively beer—I think Matt’s invented a new style in “Imperial Oregon Ale”! It’s not “tart” like a big sour, more of a lemony-citric tang; it’s dry in the finish with a bit of sweet lemon up front. This is one I would go back for a full pour if given the chance.
Incidentally, the “25″ commemorates both the 25th anniversary of the OBF and the number of ingredients used in the beer. Among the grains and hops, there is also blackberry honey, wildflower honey, Oregon hazelnuts, Oregon cranberries, Oregon grape (used as a spice), lemon peel, lemon verbana, lemon grass, and lemon balm.
Dogfish Head URKontinent, “Belgian Dubbel w/ world-wide ingredients” (Buzz Tent): Spicy phenolic nose, with a bit of brown sugar. Flavor is rather standard Belgian strong dark, with some spicy tobacco, but kind of generic.
Exit 16 Wild Rice IPA: This is a really nice IPA, floral and zippy with a crisp dry maltiness, and a clean, hoppy body and mouthfeel. Paul remarked that he was hoping for nuttiness from the wild rice, but I think it was just right. One of the best of the few IPAs I’ve tried at the Brewfest, right up there with the Russian River beer.
Fort George Bad Juju Double IPA (Buzz Tent): Big and malty and nicely bitter without being terribly floral. Good beer from Fort George (which I would expect).
Splendor in the Glass V: The Splendor Under the Stairs: This beer-with-perhaps-the-longest-name from Prodigal Son is an American Pale Ale and no, I don’t know what “under the stairs” means. It’s a pretty decent, hoppy-but-standard pale ale. The hops “pop” nicely and have a resiny bitterness.
Peach Trippel: One of the best beers of the Fest outside of the Buzz Tent, actually. Big, strong fruit presence here, sweet and full of ripe peaches. (Basically, the type of fruit I’m looking for in a fruit beer.) The base Belgian-style Tripel is a well-brewed example of the style as well, big with a lighter, drier mouthfeel and deceptively strong. This is another that’s worth going back for seconds, given the chance.
Terminal Gravity 12-year Barleywine (Buzz Tent): I about fell over when I saw this beer appear, and even though this was a three token sample (rather than the usual two) I had to have it (as did Paul and Sandi). It was amazing; very smooth, a touch of oxidation (sherry and a hint of wet cardboard), but amazingly sweet, thick and malty. Pretty much exactly what a big old barleywine should be, and well worth the extra token.
Lompoc Red Raisin – bourbon barrel red with cherries (Sour Tent): The final beer of the day at the Fest, too intriguing to pass up. Smelled vanilla-oaky, a touch smoky, with tart, almost-funky generic fruit (I can’t specifically tell if it’s “cherries”)—perhaps raisin, hence the name? The flavor is funky-tart with a touch of acetone (only a hint) but it has some interesting things going on. As a sipper I like it.