I had a great time at Saturday’s Traveling Brewers’ Dinner Party held at McMenamins Old St. Francis School; all four breweries involved (McMenamins, Boneyard Beer, Crux Fermentation Project, and GoodLife Brewing) did a great job and the McMenamins chefs knocked it out of the park putting together the menu (all incorporating the specific beer their dish was paired with).
And it was a lot of fun to walk around the McMenamins property, with a guide, getting some of the history and inside stories of the Old St. Francis School. Overall an outstanding evening.
And there’s talk of more of these Dinner Parties, with other breweries rotating through hosting duties. Something I’ll stay on top of and would highly recommend if/when they get announced.
There won’t be any “Oregon beer news” posts for the rest of this week (scintillating as they may be!) due to several things, predominantly getting ready for the Oregon Garden Brewfest and heavy planning duties on Central Oregon Beer Week.
I’ll have some other blog posts up this week, but the News posts will resume next Monday.
Happy Earth Day! Here’s is all your environmentally-conscious and friendly news in Oregon beer. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back often for updates. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted as well.
Deschutes Brewery (Bend) is celebrating Earth Day at their Bend Pub today: “The Environmental Center & Deschutes Brewery turn 25 this year so let’s celebrate with a BEER on Earth Day, April 22nd. Head to our pub in Bend for a specialty Belgian IPA created for Earth Day called…Earthly IPA (courtesy of the folks at the Environmental Center). For every pint sold of this beer we will contribute $1.00 to the Environmental Center. Come on down to the pub for local’s night, Earth Day & a great cause!”
Belmont Station (Portland) is celebrating the grand opening of their new Biergarten this week (part of their expanded space you can read about here) with a special christening and anniversary beer tapping today all day long: “The official christening of the Rich Bobkin Memorial Biergarten! Join us in dedication of our new biergarten to our long time friend and patron who passed away two years ago, Rich Bobkin. To celebrate we will tap Belmont Station 14th, 15th and 16th Anniversary beers.” Don’t miss out on the celebration this week!
Continue reading “Oregon Beer News, 04/22/2013” »
With this year’s Oregon Garden Brewfest only a week away, it’s time to look over that beer lineup I posted previously and make some lists—my picks for my own must-try beers, and general recommendations for the non-hardcore beer geeks. (Because of course when I’m getting ready for a beer fest, I like to make lists!)
My approach to fests is often to seek out and try beers I haven’t had before, and I especially like to hit the new breweries. There’s always a balance, of course, and it’s always good to mix it up with beers you’ve had and like to round it out.
With that in mind, here’s my must-list:
- Base Camp Brewing: Ripstop Rye Pils — Interesting idea from one of Portland’s newest
- Cascade Brewing: Oblique Coffee Black & White Stout — This while “white stout” thing (similar to coffee IPA which is blowing up recently?) certainly has me curious.
- Crux Fermentation Project: Outcast IPA — Of course I can get this in Bend but it’s a super solid IPA and I’m definitely going to want some hops during the day
- Falling Sky Brewing: Dark Heart
- Falling Sky Brewing: Retrograde NW Red — I like what I’ve had by Falling Sky so far so I figure I can’t go wrong
- Firestone Walker: Solace Wheat — Really nice wheat from a brewery more often known for hops
- Flat Tail Brewing: Black Hand Maple Nut Porter — Flat Tail is definitely a “concept” brewer in a lot of ways and this sounds tasty
- Fort George Brewery: Divinity Fruit Beer — I will always try a fruit beer, and this one made with Olalliberries is definitely a must-try
- Gigantic Brewing: Dark Meddle Vienna Lager
- Gigantic Brewing: Gigantic IPA — Gigantic is rock-solid, so I know I won’t go wrong with a new offering and their excellent IPA
- Gilgamesh Brewing: Hopscotch Strong Ale — I definitely appreciate their efforts so I’m in
- Logsdon Farmhouse Ales: Seizoen Bretta — Simply a great beer
- McMenamins Thompson Brewery: TBD — I don’t know what they’re pouring but I became a big fan of brewer Jen Kent last year based on her pirate-inspired Imperial Stout so I won’t pass this up
- Old Town Brewing: OTB Pilsner
- Old Town Brewing: Boysenberry Black Ale — Suprisingly for as many times as I’ve been to Portland I’ve never tried Old Town’s beers. So they’re on the list, plus a fruit beer!
- Rusty Truck Brewing: Moonlight Ride Blackberry Ale — I first tried this at the brewery last year, and this year I’m hoping for the more fruit I was looking for
- Santiam Brewing: Spitfire ESB
- Santiam Brewing: Pirate Stout — Salem’s newest brewery, so I’m looking forward to trying these
- Sasquatch Brewery: Oregon Session Ale
- Sasquatch Brewery: Woodboy IPA — One of Portland’s newest and I haven’t had any yet, so count me in
20 beers seems like a nice number to shoot for. We’ll see how far into this list I make it.
Now, for anyone who’s looking for more general recommendations that aren’t colored by the beer geek angle of seeking out the newest/weirdest/hoppiest/etc. beers, here’s such a list:
- 10 Barrel Brewing: Wheat IPA — This is their new “O.G.” and is a nice lighter (relatively) beer with a nice hop presence, and will be a nice warm weather beer
- 21st Amendment: Hell or High Watermelon Wheat — A perennial crowd favorite
- Crux Fermentation Project: On the Fence Pale — On the hoppier side (hey, it’s Oregon) but a nice beer for anyone, er, on the fence about pales
- Double Mountain Brewery: Vaporizer Dry Hopped Pale — Crisp, hoppy without being intimidating, super drinkable beer
- Elysian Brewing: Super Fuzz Blood Orange Pale — Excellent fruit character without being cloying and balanced with bitter orange peel character
- Firestone Walker: Solace Wheat — Excellent representation of a wheat ale
- Flat Tail Brewing: Tailgater Kölsch — Light and easy-drinking which a lot of people will look for without giving up flavor
- Full Sail Brewing: Lager Series LTD 5
- Full Sail Brewing: Pub Series ESB — Full Sail brews great beers and both of these would be great choices
- Gigantic Brewing: Gigantic IPA — If you’re looking for that IPA fix, this is the one
- Hopworks Urban Brewery: Organic HUB Lager — Super solid, easy-drinking lager that’s full of flavor
- Kona Brewing: Koko Brown — A delicious coconut-infused brown ale you won’t be sorry to go back for again
- Oakshire Brewing: Line Dry Rye — Always a good choice, slightly spicy from the rye but a nicely drinkable beer
- Pelican Pub & Brewery: Winema Wit — It’s nice to have a Belgian Wit styled beer represented, and Pelican’s version is a good one
- Sierra Nevada Brewing: Pale Ale — An American classic!
- Widmer Brothers Brewing: Alchemy Pale Ale — Widmer’s newest is going to be a hit, I think.
And, in case you’re looking for some alternatives, there are several ciders and meads present, so if you’re not a big beer fan, or need gluten-free offerings, these are worth looking into. I haven’t tried all of these, but here are some to look for:
- 2 Towns Ciderhouse: The Incider & The Bad Apple — This cidery from Corvallis has been getting the good word
- Blue Dog Mead: Green Collar Mead & Yellow Collar Mead — Blue Dog out of Eugena has some nice-drinking offerings
- Nectar Creek Honeywine: Wildflower Session Mead & Ginger Session Mead — Also out of Corvallis, they’ve been doing some interesting meads as well
- Wandering Aengus Ciderworks: Anthem Cherry & Anthem Hops — Yes, cider with hops in it!
I’m really looking forward to the OGBF this year, and making these lists only stokes the excitement. What beers are you really looking forward to trying?
When I first learned I would be relocating to the East Bay late last summer, I immediately began scouring the area for local brewpubs, beer bars, etc., through beermapping.com, my dog-eared copy of Good Beer Guide West Coast USA and asking everyone I knew about the area. Not knowing exactly where I was going to live, I primarily focused on Berkeley (my new office location) and found some great places: Pyramid, Triple Rock, Jupiter; and a few in Oakland: Beer Revolution, The Trappist… but I didn’t discover my ‘local’ brewpub Elevation 66 until I was actually driving BY it (as I didn’t initially check the El Cerrito area as I didn’t think we’d land there… and, honestly, El Cerrito is a beer dead zone). I went in later that afternoon and discovered that they were celebrating their one year anniversary—what a terrific way to be welcomed to the neighborhood!
Subsequently, I’ve been to Elevation 66 on quite a few occasions and I have to say—I couldn’t have asked for a better local hangout. It’s cozy and friendly, with a terrific small staff and is literally the perfect spot for an afternoon pint to catch a game or to have a nice family dinner—assuming you don’t have a long wait as it’s a very popular spot. Also, a huge plus: they’re very kid friendly. My family, I think, was only mentioned in my last post but I have a 3 ½ year old daughter who frequently accompanies my wife and I on brewery excursions and so finding kid friendly breweries/brewpubs is important.
Getting there is pretty easy as they’re a couple blocks from a BART stop, there’s ample parking in the immediate area, and the Ohlone Greenway goes right by if you’re biking. Additionally, they’re on a cute block with an eclectic group of stores/restaurants (including a cool comic book store) and a terrific looking theater a door down that allows beer drinking inside. WIN.
It’s a small location and they only brew enough beer to serve on one of their 12 taps (typically 6 for the home team and 6 guest—with a great rotating selection and one seemingly permanent cider tap)—so no growler fills to be had! The food is mostly locally sourced and they pride themselves on their support of the local community/economy with their menu. The selection itself isn’t extravagant but has a number of amazing items and they rotate out dishes occasionally (they have some amazing mac’n’cheese—and I’ve had a LOT of mac’n’cheese from breweries).
The beer across the board has always been top-notch, with special marks for the hoppy West Coast IPAs that I love. I’ve never had a single pint (or visit for that matter) that I felt was sub-par and I’ve tried many of their offerings:
- East Bay IPA
- White Rabbit Double IPA
- Laurel Leaf Pale Ale
- Old 66
- Two Beagle Brown
- Caber Toss Scotch
- Ramble Tamble Red
- Esther Stout
- Choco-nut Stout
- Barrel Aged Chocolate Imperial Stout
- Contra Costa Kolsch
- Accidental Ale
So if you’re in the East Bay for a visit I can’t endorse Elevation 66 enough…it’s well worth the trip—assuming you can get a chair!
Elevation 66 Brewing
10082 San Pablo Avenue
El Cerrito, CA 94530