Happy Wednesday, I hope it’s going well for you so far! Here’s the news in Oregon beer from around the state. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back often for updates. And if you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated as well.
McMenamins Oak Hills Brewpub (Portland) has a limited-edition tasting starting at 4pm today featuring SMASH Hit Centennial IPA: “SMASH stands for a Single Malt And Single Hop. This is a cool style of beer because we have the opportunity to isolate these two ingredients and really get to know what they are all about. Pilsner malt is great for IPAs because it’s light in body, color and provides an excellent back drop to really taste the hops. Centennial hops have often been referred to as the “Super Cascade”. They have fruity, tropical aromas but also provide a good amount of signature IPA bitterness.” It’s 6.5% abv and 85 IBUs.
BridgePort Brewing (Portland): Today is the release of this year’s edition of Stumptown Tart! This year’s vintage was brewed with fresh northwest raspberries, and from 5:30 to 8pm at BridgePort’s brewpub you can get a first taste: “Swing by the brewpub for the ‘Tasting with the Tart’ party on Wednesday, May 20, to try our favorite warm weather beer, Stumptown Tart. Giveaways will be plentiful, and bottle model Bernie Dexter will be there ready to pose with guests for a Stumptown Selfie and to sign bottles of this new brew.”
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This week’s Tuesday Tastings have taken on a summery theme, even though summer itself is still at least a month away. At least that what’s these beers remind me of.
Karl Strauss Brewing Mosaic Session Ale
I received this bottle direct from Karl Strauss Brewing recently, their new year-round offering brewed entirely with Mosaic hops (which are red-hot right now). Yes, it’s named “Session Ale” but its strength is 5.5% abv, a full percent higher than is proper for a session beer (and some would argue that line should even be drawn at 4%). I’m not going to be overly pedantic, but it’s something to note.
Back when the Mosaic hop first came on the scene, our brewers couldn’t wait to get their hands on some. Now, with three medals (and counting!) for this session beer, our crew is still just as smitten. Mosaic Session Ale is bursting with vibrant grapefruit aroma and flavors of citrus and tropical fruit. Our signature dry-hopping technique delivers an incredibly drinkable, lower ABV beer; without sacrificing hop appeal.
Appearance: Straw-yellow in color, clear, with delicate lacy white head. The description “burnished straw” occurred to me for color, whatever that might mean.
Smell: Really pungent nose—grapefruit peel, nettles or milk thistle, sweaty, dank in a very green ganja way. Melange of overripe tropical fruits, with a savory note.
Taste: Spicy-peppery is immediate impression. There’s a definite savory (greens) flavor profile. (And I can’t help but think of Jeff Alworth’s suggestion that to him, Mosaic hops taste of onion.) Kind of a green tea bitterness, with a very neutral malt body, appropriate to let the malt shine. However the strong savory character of the Mosaics suggests a bit of a one-note impression.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light-bodied, with a spicy finish, leaving a savory (herbal) aftertaste.
Overall: This is a well-brewed beer but with the strong emphasis on the Mosaic hops here I’m a bit on the fence about it (the hop, not the beer).
Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer
Deschutes Brewery Twilight Summer Ale
Another recent arrival from the brewery, I look forward to drinking Twilight every year. It’s billed as an American Pale Ale but I tend to think of it more as an English Summer Ale with a fruity splash of American hops, and it drinks really, really easy. Deschutes’ description:
Summer has its own rules. As luck would have it, it also has its own beer. This clever golden-hued ale pours remarkably crisp and clean. A distinctive malt body complements a refreshing hop profile led by a heady dose of bold Amarillo hops. Enjoy.
I’ve reviewed this beer quite a few times over the years, going back to 2007, and then 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, and then last year I tried three Twilights several weeks apart in a sort of mini-vertical. So, yeah, I’ve spent a few words writing about this beer over the years, and really there’s not too much more to say; at this point it’s mostly trying to pick out year-to-year differences.
In that vein, I think this year’s is better than last; the aroma goes brightly tropical, fruity and juicy, and that permeates the beer, blending with that luscious malt body that’s light and bready. Like I said, it’s really easy to drink, and it’s fresh now, so don’t wait.
Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer
Boulevard Brewing Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
Tank 7 is the year-round offering in Boulevard’s Smokestack series, a beer with 8.5% abv that should seem burly but drinks way too easy for that strength. This style of beer is right in with Boulevard’s wheelhouse, and I was not disappointed; if you’ve never tried this beer, seek it out. Their description:
Most breweries have at least one piece of equipment that’s just a bit persnickety. Here at Boulevard we have fermenter number seven, the black sheep of our cellar family. Ironically, when our brewers were experimenting with variations on a traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale, the perfect combination of elements came together in that very vessel. You could call it fate, but they called it Tank 7, and so it is. Beginning with a big surge of fruity aromatics and grapefruit-hoppy notes, the flavor of this complex, straw-colored ale tapers off to a peppery, dry finish.
Appearance: Lovely fluffy white head, three fingers’ worth over a golden honey-colored body with just a touch of haze. Great lacing.
Smell: Classic farmhouse character overlaying a bready/candy malt—herbal, spicy, funky. Phenolic notes that go clove and coriander on my nose.
Taste: Bready malt, solid earthy bitterness, a touch sweet, coriander spice, and dry. Very, very nice, there’s not much more that needs to be said. Very lightly peppery.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a quenching dry finish.
Overall: Excellent beer—great example of the style and you cannot taste the strength at all.
Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer
This is surprising news: Prineville, Oregon’s Solstice Brewing, which opened its doors in downtown Prineville in 2011 and brewed its first batch of beer in 2012, is changing its name to Ochoco Brewing. This according to our weekly alt-newspaper, The Source:
The Prineville-based brewery now formerly known as Solstice has never been shy about its roots. When it released its first beer back in 2012, the brewery reclaimed a not-uncommon slur for the city, calling it Prinetucky Pale. So it’s only fitting that the new name—Ochoco Brewing Company—honors the operation’s Crook County origins.
The name also harkens back to the first known brewery in Central Oregon. No, not Deschutes. According to local beer historian Jon Abernathy, the short-lived Ochoco Brewery, founded in Prineville in 1882, holds the honor of being first.
“My wife and I grew up in rural Eastern Oregon and we’ve made Prineville our permanent home, and we believe a name like Ochoco Brewing will cement us in the DNA of Crook County,” owner and brewmaster Joseph Barker explains in a release.
Yep, I got name checked, which is always fun. And it’s true: the original Ochoco Brewery—the first in Central Oregon—was established in Prineville in 1882 and lasted until 1890 (it even burned down once). That original brewery was located at Fourth and Main Street, in fact only about a block and a half from Solstice’s current location. So it’s an interesting and apt pivot on the name, though I wonder a bit about branding and having had the “Solstice” name established for the past four years or so, if that will cause any confusion. Time will tell, but it is a good name.
And this Friday, May 22, they are holding a “logo release party” starting at 5:30pm at their brewery:
This Friday we’ll be celebrating a new logo/brand launch. The Chamber of commerce will be here at 5:30pm to do a ribbon cutting and we’ll have Road Altars here playing some live music. We’ll also be releasing a new Dry Hopped Golden Ale to commemorate the occasion. We hope you can all join us!
Here’s the news in Oregon beer from around the web for Tuesday, the 19th of May. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day, so check back often for the latest news. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated as well.
The Bier Stein (Eugene) is hosting a book signing and tasting for homebrewer Denny Conn and his new book, Experimental Homebrewing, tonight from 6 to 8pm: “Ever wondered how brewers infuse some of those interesting ingredients? Why would they even want to? Local beer educator and newly minted author Denny Conn will be doing a reading from the book Experimental Homebrewing, co-authored by Conn and California homebrew-star Drew Beechum. If you have burning questions, or a burning sensation in your mouth after drinking a beer, Denny can probably solve the mystery. He’ll have the book for sale– a great gift idea (for yourself or a friend, of course). Reading and Q&A will be at the Back Bar, tasting to follow.”
Bailey’s Taproom (Portland) is helping The Tin Bucket to celebrate their 2nd anniversary today with the “Tin Lip: The Upper Bucket Tap Takeover” at The Upper Lip today from 7 to 10pm: “Draft List: Arch Rock Gold Beach Lager, Barley Brown’s 3-Headed Hop Monster, Epic Big Bad Baptist, Finnriver Honey Meadow, Jolly Pumpkin/Anchorage Calabaza Boreal, Off Color Apex Predator, and a couple surprises…” Cheers to beer bars working together!
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A bottle of this year’s batch of Foray IPA from Deschutes Brewery arrived today, freshly minted for the summer season:
It’s available now through September, and I’ll have notes to post soon.