Oregon Garden Brewfest: Must try beers

Oregon Garden BrewfestThe other day I posted the list of beers that will be pouring at the Oregon Garden Brewfest coming up at the end of the month, and (like I do for the Oregon Brewfest—or really any fests that I attend) now I’ve got my list of beers that I consider “must tries”—those that I would generally recommend and those that I want to try for myself.

So if you’re new to the Fest and/or haven’t had many or any of the beers (or ciders) being poured, here’s what I would recommend:

  • 10 Barrel Apocalypse IPA – this is likely the recently-reformulated recipe and is a good example of a Northwest IPA
  • 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat – a perennial favorite at other festivals, light and fruity
  • Alameda Black Bear XX Stout – a really nice, award-winning big-bodied stout
  • Block 15 Nebula – another stout that generates a lot of well-deserved buzz
  • Firestone Walker DBA and Solace – both of these beers from Firestone are worth seeking out
  • Flat Tail Tailgater Kölsch – you don’t see many Kölsches brewed around here, and this is a nicely drinkable example
  • Fort George Cavatica Stout – a great imperial stout
  • Gigantic Brewing Axes of Evil and Gigantic IPA – one of Portland’s newest up-and-coming (and certainly most talked about) breweries, both beers are definitely worth trying
  • Gilgamesh DJ Jazzy Hef – American-style wheat that I’m picking just for the name alone
  • GoodLife Mountain Rescue Pale Ale – great example of the flagship offering from one of Bend’s newest breweries
  • Logsdon Farmhouse Ales Kili Wit and Sezoen Bretta – two more beers that I predict you can’t go wrong with (though the Bretta is wild and infused with Brettanomyces)
  • McMenamins Thompson Brewery Bellini Cream Ale – because you need a few really light beers to cleanse the palate and this sounds good (hopefully with peaches!)
  • Ninkasi Total Domination – what may be considered the prototypical Northwest IPA powerhouse
  • Oakshire Line Dry Rye – fantastic, drinkable rye beer
  • Pelican Pub & Brewery Kiwanda Cream Ale – when cream ales are done right, they taste like this
  • Crispin Fox Barrel Blackberry Pear Cider
  • Tieton Cider Works Apricot Cider
  • Wandering Aengus Anthem Cherry Cider

Of course, I tried to pick some good but general examples to cover a variety of bases and styles. I’ve had the majority of them so I hope if you follow this list I don’t steer you wrong!

And here’s my “personal” list: I’m looking through the list with an eye towards beers I haven’t yet had, or particularly from breweries I’ve yet to visit and/or sample from, so it’s a bit different:

  • Block 15 Nebula and Wandlepad – an imperial stout and a blonde, fairly opposite, but I’ve had so few Block 15 beers (if any?) but they are generating huge buzz, I definitely need to try them
  • Firestone Walker Solace – I have had this before, when it was first bottled (they in fact sent me some that I reviewed), but it’s been a couple of years so I’d like to try it again
  • Flat Tail Jarabe Caliente! – a “chocolate chili porter” from another new brewery that I haven’t had many beers from—plus, you know, “chocolate chili porter
  • Gigantic Brewing – both the same beers I listed on the first list for those same reasons; I expect these both to be really good beers
  • Gilgamesh DJ Jazzy Hef and Vader – I’m actually a bit on the fence with these but since I’ve tried so few of Gilgamesh’s beers I’m curious
  • Logsdon Kili Wit – I love a good Witbier and I’ve heard good about this one
  • McMenamins Thompson Brewery Bellini Cream Ale and Black Jack Russian Imperial Stout – I’m really hoping there are peaches in the Bellini
  • Pale Horse Hillbilly Blonde and Hopyard Dog – I’ve had nothing from Pale Horse yet, hence looking for these to try them out finally
  • Rusty Truck Fender Bender Amber Ale and Roadwrecker IPA – ditto
  • Seven Brides Abbey’s Apple Ale – a beer and cider hybrid? Color me intrigued

I may try some cider too; the Tieton Cider Works Apricot Cider sounds interesting, but we’ll see how my palate feels after plenty of beer. And who knows if I’ll even make this list? At the very least I’m going to seek out Gigantic, Pale Horse, and Rusty Truck for sure since they’re so new to me (well, Gigantic is so new to everyone, but you get my point).

Disclosure: I’ll be attending the Brewfest with a media pass to both the Fest and the Brewers Dinner Package the Thursday night before.