McMenamins Black Widow Porter (2014)

McMenamins Black Widow Porter (Halloween seasonal)Since we’re solidly in the Halloween season (what, you haven’t seen the pumpkins and black cats and strange lights in windows lately?), one beer you can and should seek out here in the Pacific Northwest is McMenamins’ Black Widow Porter. It’s their Halloween seasonal beer, on tap through the 31st, and one for which they sent me an advance bottle to try.

Originally brewed at the Thompson Brewery in 1991, it has since because a company-wide seasonal, a robust porter with licorice root that comes in at 7.35% abv. Each brewery crafts Black Widow in-house, so each version will have slight variances depending on the equipment and processes. The bottled version is brewed by the Edgefield brewery in Troutdale. (This means I need to head over to my local McMenamins Old St. Francis School to try the local version.)

Appearance: Opaque dark brown, pours thick, nice finger-and-a-half of creamy tan head that’s finely bubbled.

Smell: Coffee and creamy—mellow mocha note, like a fresh-brewed dark roast. Dark chocolate nibs. Black licorice root, which makes me think of sassafras.

Taste: Toasty, sweet robust porter. Some nice chocolate notes and what tastes to me like milk sugar to give it a rich feel. Light roast, dark caramel, bittersweet chocolate, finished satisfyingly sweet but not cloying.

Mouthfeel: Medium- to full-bodied and nicely chewy. Not too thick so that it strays out of “porter” territory.

Overall: Really nice sweet porter, substantial and satisfying. Would be a suitable adult trick-or-treat giveaway on Halloween night…

Untappd. BeerAdvocate: 3.74/5 (8 ratings). RateBeer: 3.04/5 (6 ratings).

My book is out today!

Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon - coverI am thrilled and proud to announce that my first book, Bend Beer: A History of Brewing in Central Oregon, is officially released today! (I say officially though I know it has already been available for pre-order online—and had already shipped a few out.) Published by the History Press, it covers the history of Bend and Central Oregon from a beer-spective from the frontier era of the 1880 and ’90s through today. Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

With more breweries per capita than any other Oregon city, Bend is a beer mecca. Prior to Prohibition, the state had a burgeoning brewing industry and plenty of saloons to cater to the needs of the hardy frontiersmen who settled Central Oregon. The teetotaling ’20s brought all that to a screeching halt. Fifty years later, the arrival of pioneers like Deschutes Brewery and Bend Brewing Company breathed new life into Bend’s beer and brought about the booming industry for which the area is known today. Author and “The Brew Site” creator Jon Abernathy traces Bend and Central Oregon’s hoppy history from early settlement to the present day, sharing the stories behind its most famous breweries and the communities that have fostered the industry.

It was a terrific experience writing this book (and I’ve already got ideas for “second edition”) and I hope it’s as fun and informative to read. I tried to blend the region’s overall history with its beer culture and history to appeal to a broad audience.

Interested in buying the book? You should be able to find it person at the following locations:

  • Barnes & Noble (Bend)
  • Costco (Bend)
  • Deschutes Brewery – tasting room and downtown pub
  • McMenamins Old St. Francis School
  • Visit Bend (Bend Visitor Center, downtown Bend)
  • Des Chutes Historical Museum (Bend)
  • The Brew Shop (Bend)
  • Powell’s Books (Portland)
  • Central Oregon Locavore (Bend)
  • Paulina Springs Books (Sisters and Redmond)

And there will be more locations coming soon. If you’re interested in purchasing online, there are a number of options as well:

There are also signing and meet the author events lining up, all of which you can find on the book site as well as the Facebook page.

And if you’d like to find out a little bit more about me and my own beer background, including some background on the book itself, Michael over at #pdxbeergeeks has a “Meet the Geek” interview up with me today.


Elysian Great Pumpkin Roadshow

For the last several years Elysian Brewing has been following up their Great Pumpkin Beer Fest with a smaller-scale, traveling version: their Pumpkin Roadshow which is landing in Eugene tomorrow and running through the rest of the month. Here’s the press release:

Couldn’t make it up to Seattle for Elysian’s Great Pumpkin Beer Fest this year?

Good news!! Elysian is taking their Great Pumpkin Beer Fest on the road via their GREAT PUMPKIN ROADSHOWS!!

Known for being the nation’s most pumpkin obsessed Brewery, Elysian just held their 10th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival in Seattle, where they featured over 80 pumpkin beers and tapped several 1000 pound pumpkins full of beer for a sold out crowd!

For the Elysian Great Pumpkin Roadshow’s, one location per city is chosen to host the pumpkin party and feature Elysian’s super limited pumpkin beers on tap. Here is a list of places you’ll find the Roadshows this month in Oregon, plus a heads up on their new Belmont Beer Crawl:

October 17th – EUGENE – The Bier Stein
October 18th – PORTLAND – The Killer Pumpkin Fest at the Green Dragon
October 23rd – BEND – The Platypus Pub
October 29th – SALEM – Venti’s Taphouse & Cafe
October 30th – PORTLAND – The Great Pumpkin Belmont Beer Crawl – Circa 33, Belmont Inn, Side Street, Barebones, Triple Nickel

Orange attire and costumes encouraged!!

Great Pumpkin beers

Of course, I’m excited to see it come to Bend this year (next Thursday the 23rd), and have some details about what’s coming up at the Platypus Pub next week: it runs from 6 to 8pm and will be featuring 11 of Elysisian’s pumpkin beers on tap, and four others. Check out this list:

  • Night Owl Pumpkin Ale
  • Dark O’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout
  • Great Pumpkin Imperial
  • Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale
  • Lost Abbey Collaboration Sardonic Dark Pumpkin Wit
  • Gourdfather Pumpkin Barleywine
  • Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner
  • Orange Is The New Black Chocolate & Orange Pumpkin Stout
  • Mr. Yuck Pumpkin Sour
  • P. Smoov Nitro Pumpkin Cream Ale
  • Gourdgia on mind Pecan Peach Pumpkin Amber

Those are just the Elysian beers, and while you might have had the first four (which are in bottles this year), the only other place to have tried the other seven before this would have been at the Great Pumpkin Beer Fest. (I don’t know for sure what the four others will be.)

This will be a great series of events and these are all great pumpkin beers, so don’t miss out! I would love to see a big turnout for Bend especially so Elysian will bring it back here again next year, but even if you can’t make it on the 23rd be sure to hit up one of the other stops. You won’t regret it! (Unless you hate pumpkin beers or something crazy like that.)

Received: McMenamins Black Widow Porter

McMenamins fall/Halloween seasonal beer, Black Widow Porter, is released tomorrow (the 15th), and the company sent me out a bottle that arrived today:

McMenamins Black Widow Porter

This is a tasty brew that’s 7.35% abv and will be available through Halloween. It’s brewed with licorice root and the company says:

Originally created at the Thompson Brewery 22 years ago on October 15, 1991 and made by all Thompson Brewers to come after, Black Widow has become an expected and welcome Halloween treat at the Thompson Public House in Salem. This year the Widow’s web will envelope the entire company once again, as every McMenamins brewery will be making a batch.

Until I get a chance to pop this one open, you can check out a previous review.

Great Pumpkin Beer Fest wrap-up and gallery

I’m only about a week behind on writing about last weekend’s Great Pumpkin Beer Fest at Elysian Brewing in Seattle (at their Georgetown brewery, really), but I have to say it was again an epic beer festival and reaffirms my notion last year that this is right at the top of my list of favorite fests. This year was the 10th annual iteration of Elysian’s fest and like last year, we got in with media credentials for free on Friday, and paid for additional tickets for Saturday. I would happily pay for both days though be warned—if you are looking to go next (or any) year, tickets sell out quickly so don’t hesitate when the time comes.

There’s not a lot to say that isn’t already covered in the gallery of photos attached, but I do have a few thoughts.

Continue reading “Great Pumpkin Beer Fest wrap-up and gallery” »