Oregon Beer News, 02/16/2015

Oregon BeerHappy President’s Day! I hope you had a great weekend as well! Let’s kick off the holiday (where I don’t have the day off myself) with this week’s news in Oregon beer. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news as I find it, so check back often. And if you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted as well.

This Saturday, February 21st, McMenamins is holding their 22nd annual Hillsdale Brewfest, taking place all day at the Portland brewpub that started it all (the brewing portion, anyway) for McMenamins. There will be 22 beers from the different McMenamins breweries all vying to win the belt and the chance to be the beer sent to the Oregon Brewers Festival in July. “Patrons order “trays” of beer samples, arranged from lightest to darkest. It is our guests’ official duty to decide who deserves the coveted title. The beers cover the spectrum of brew styles – from hefeweizen to oatmeal stout, barleywine to smoked amber ale and beyond. Each taster casts one ballot that lists his or her top three choices.” I’ll have a more detailed post up shortly.

Bend Brewing Company (Bend) is celebrating their 20th anniversary this Friday, the 20th, from 5 to 10pm with a street party, live music, and “20 beers for 20 years”—featuring yes, 20 beers on tap! I’ll post a beer list of what I know will be pouring, but in particular look for Outback XX—a Brett-fermented Pinot barrel aged version of their Outback X Strong Ale (which was brewed 10 years ago to commemorate their 10th anniversary). It’s going to be a great party, worth the trip to Bend to celebrate with BBC! (And I will even be there selling books.)

GoodLife Brewing (Bend) and Terminal Gravity Brewing (Enterprise) are in Portland tonight for the release party for their G-Two Imperial Red Ale at Bailey’s Taproom. It runs from 5 to 8pm, and GoodLife will be pouring “G-Two, Pass Stout, and rumor has it there is going to be a keg of something else that GoodLife just brewed up,” while Terminal Gravity will have their own G-Two, along with Eagle Cap IPA and Cave Dweller. I tried both version of G-Two during Zwickelmania this weekend, side by side, and they are tasty and worth trying together.

The Bier Stein (Eugene) is kicking off their third Starkbierzeit this Thursday, the 19th, which will run four days through the 22nd. What is the Starkbierzeit, you ask? It’s a festival of strong beer! “Rarely does the opportunity to taste rare, old, strong beer happen in concentrated doses and with such ease as this. This year, we decided to take Starkbierzeit on a four-day run, including a mostly foreign bottle tasting and an eight-beer horizontal of 2013 50/50 Eclipse Imperial Stout. Starkbierzeit is a festival in Germany, much smaller than Oktoberfest, which began as an observance of the Lenten fast with higher gravity beer. Traditionally, the holiday falls toward the end of March, but we decided to lift people’s spirits in the last stretch of the dreary winter season.” They have a terrific lineup during those days, culminating with that 50/50 Eclipse tasting on Saturday which will cost you $35 and is limited to 18 people.

The Green Dragon (Portland): Firkin Fest is this Saturday the 21st! This will run all day from 11am until 6pm, and cost $10 for general admission. “The event will feature firkin beers from 40 of Oregon’s top breweries – Firkin beers are unpasteurized, unfiltered, naturally carbonated in the cask and served at cellar temperature. Artisan cheeses, chocolates, meats, and snacks will be served alongside the beer.” For $25 you can get the VIF admission—“VIF or Very Impressive Firkin Session: 2pm-4pm” limited to 50 people for “access to 3 special Firkin tastings in the Green Dragon Barrel Room”. Tickets are available here.

And it’s mini-fest season: Lompoc Brewing (Portland) has their 3rd annual Black Out Beer Fest this Friday the 20th at their Sidebar, from 4 to 10pm: “The Black Out Beer Fest will feature 19 dark beers: four from Lompoc and the remaining 15 from craft breweries… The Black Out Beer Fest will serve the beers in Sidebar and in the tented and heated parking lot adjacent to Sidebar on N. Williams. Tasting packages are required to drink the Black Out beers and cost $15, which includes a souvenir 15.5 oz glass tasting mug and 8 beer tickets. Additional tickets are available for $1 apiece. It costs four tickets for a full mug or $1 for a taste. Original mug and ticket sales take place in the fest tent. There will also be live music by Joey Comanche in the fest tent. Food service will be available in the 5th Quadrant. Bring ID, the event is for ages 21+.”

And following the next day is Lompoc’s 9th annual Chowder Challenge, at the Fifth Quadrant from noon to 4pm: “Who serves the best clam chowder in the city? A dozen local brewpubs and restaurants will vie for the coveted Chowder Cup at the 9th annual Chowder Challenge… Two-ounce samples of traditional New England-style clam chowders from each of the participants are served in non-labeled tasting cups. After tasting all entries, attendees vote for their favorite. The chowder receiving the most votes is named the People’s Choice Winner and takes home the coveted Chowder Cup; awards are also given for second and third place. There is no charge to attend the event, but to taste the chowders, attendees ages 12 and over purchase sample trays for $10.”