Friday at the Oregon Brewers Festival I tried 10 more beers (after essentially 19 the day before), and Saturday I had five (though two were repeats). All in all I managed to sample all but three beers from my own “must try” list, which is pretty good.
Here are my notes from the beers that I had those last two days:
Berried Alive!, Old Market Pub & Brewery, 5.5%abv; brewed with some 446 pounds of Oregon boysenberries and raspberries, and aged in Pinot Noir barrels. Smells like berry jam (yummy), and is a red-purple bruise color. The flavor is tart and fruity, but of underripe fruit (because the sugars all fermented out, leaving no residual sweetness). A bit of wood character with a tart wine-like finish.
Pepe Nero, Goose Island, 6%abv; Farmhouse ale with Tellicherry peppercorns. You can smell the peppercorns prominently here, spicy-peppery and fresh. There’s black pepper on the tongue too, with some smoke, roasted malt, and smoke (ash?) again—really interesting. Darker than I’d expect for a Farmhouse style, but I’m really liking it. [This was one of the beers I had again on Saturday, a full mug of it.]
Zombie Flanders, Rock Bottom, 6.6%abv; Flanders Red Ale. Tart and funk on the nose, quite nice (cherries?). Flavor is good too—a little less fruit but still tart (lactic, Brett) with a nice funk/barnyard character. Straightforward example of the style, nicely handled.
Belgian Ale with Marmalade, Bison Brewing, Buzz Tent. I tried this mostly because Ashley (The Beer Wench) tweeted about it and that the head brewer of Bison would be in the Buzz Tent at 2pm to talk about it. Light nose, a touch herbal with some phenolic spiciness. Dry on the mouth, well-attenuated, get a sense of orange marmalade in the back. Light and refreshing for a hot day. (Don’t know the ABV though.)
Anubis Imperial Coffee Porter, Laughing Dog, 9.2%abv; Imperial + with coffee. Really rich and sweet coffee aroma, almost syrupy, with dark chocolate. In the mouth it’s lighter than you’d expect, though keeping in line with the Porter style (even as strong as it is). Sweet notes but it gets dry toward the back—almost astringent. Coffee character is there in the background as it warms.
Ginger & Meyer Ann, Blue Frog, 6%abv; Belgian style ale with ginger and Meyer lemon peel. Opted for a full pour on this one before venturing to the north tent. Hints of citrus on the nose, and a clove-spicy Belgian character as well. Getting some ginger in the palate, not bad—but not terribly strong either. Citrus/lemon peel is minimal, more of a “Belgian gold” quality instead.
Crazy Foyston’s Alt, Lucky Lab, 6%abv. Super hoppy aromas, full of pine, a bit of pitch, and citrus. It’s similarly hoppy in flavor—sticky actually, very bitter though fairly clean with it. Actually nicely done, hoppy like I’d imagine a good Alt should be…
Mint Kölsch, Gilgamesh, 5.3%abv; mint instead of hops in this beer. Nose is full of green mint, and some fruity/tart character I can’t place… maybe a flaw, I’m not sure. Flavor is… interesting. There’s definitely mint, but without hops there’s no balance against the malt and I think there’s a flaw in here somewhere… lactic, maybe, or just fermented way too hot… kind of a sourish thing followed by a milky(?) character…
Foggy Bog Cranberry Ale, Widmer, 6%abv; wheat beer with cranberries and milk sugar. Musty, earthy nose—which strikes me as very “cranberry” but it’s not very fruity. Nice body, tartly fruity in flavor but it’s subtle and drinkable, not overdone.
Siamese Twin Ale, Uncommon Brewers, 8.5%abv; Belgian Dubbel with coriander, lemongrass, and kaffir lime. Darker than I thought it would be (even for a Dubble) with the lemongrass and kaffir lime in it. Not a lot of nose, spicy-subtle character in the mouth, no real “lemongrass” that I can detect.
The remaining beers I had on Saturday, and really didn’t take notes as it was my “off” day, visiting with friends.
Cote d’Or, Golden Valley, 7%abv; Belgian golden ale aged on neutral Chard barrels. Nicely Belgian, spicy and phenolic, and has a touch of wood to it.
Alaskan White Ale, Alaskan, 5.3%abv. This is a pretty classic and well-brewed Belgian Witbier style of ale.
Black & Red, Dogfish, 10%abv; a “Raspberry Mint Imperial Stout” brewed with 100 pounds of spearmint and peppermint in the secondary. This was a “love it or hate it” beer but there’s no denying it was popular: the line for it even fairly early on extended all the way out to the other side of the tent. It was also a beer I had at the Preview two days earlier but it was so interesting I had to try it again, so I opted for a full pour since the line was so long. It’s rich, decadent, different, full of dark chocolate and raspberry and that big kick of mint which was putting the “hate it” camp off. Definitely a dessert beer, almost a cordial, and definitely interesting. And judging my how much I’m writing about it, definitely notable.
Bison Honey Basil Ale, Bison, 6%abv; light ale brewed with honey and fresh basil. I’ve had this beer before but decided to go with it again. I like this beer, it’s spicy and refreshing and one of my friends said it tasted kind of like a pizza, then amended to say it would taste good with pizza.
Pepe Nero. For my last beer of the OBF I settled on a full pour of the Pepe Nero from Goose Island again. It’s an intriguing beer, and nicely drinkable, and I had to get that peppercorn quality again.