Cam O’Connor joins Crux Fermentation Project

I first heard about this a few weeks ago, but did not know when the official news was coming out: Cam O’Connor, formerly brewmaster at Deschutes Brewery, joins Bend’s Crux Fermentation Project. Pretty interesting news for Bend! Here’s the official press release from Crux:

Crux Fermentation Project announced this week that Cam O’Connor joined the team as its Head Brewer. Bringing with him more than a decade of high-end craft brewing experience, Cam significantly expands the talent bandwidth allowing Crux to focus more time, imagination and energy on high-touch experimental brews such as their [BANISHED] Series of barrel-aged beers.

Cam will work closely with Crux Founder and Brewmaster, Larry Sidor, with whom he also worked with at Deschutes Brewery for eight years. “Cam is extremely creative and entrepreneurial,” according to Larry, “And has the vision and the talent to help take Crux to the next level.”

Cam began his brewing career at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California, after completing the Master Brewer Program at University of California–Davis. He then spent the next ten years brewing for Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, where one of his most notable accomplishments was developing their Fresh Squeezed IPA, Hop In The Dark Cascadian Dark Ale and opening their PDX Pub.

“I really enjoy all the beers Crux is making—their mainline beers, their barrel-aged beers, their Brewdeck Release beers,” Cam said, adding that [BANISHED] Better Off Red Flanders Red Ale is his current favorite Crux beer. “Crux is already pushing boundaries and I can’t wait to push them further with stuff like wild yeast and bacteria.”

Cam began work at the brewery on Tuesday, December 2, 2014.

Cam is a great guy and a great brewer, and this is a great addition to the Crux team.

Cam O'Connor and Larry Sidor

Advent Beer Calendar 2014: Day 4: Delirium Noël

Delirium Noël

The English version of this year’s label.

Ten years of the Beer Advent Calendar continues, and I’m wondering if the holidays are a time for seeing pink elephants? If we’re speaking euphemistically, then perhaps, or perhaps not—but with today’s beer pick you definitely will be: Delirium Noël. This is the Christmas version of Delirium Tremens from Belgium’s Brouwerij Huyghe, which is celebrating its 25th year this year (the beer, not the brewery—having launched on December 26, 1989).

Delirium Noël is a hefty 10% abv, a Belgian strong dark ale known not only for being fantastic and delicious but also for its signature pink elephant label which changes from year to year. Their own tasting notes on the beer itself read:

Colour and sight: chestnut amber. A fine, white, creamy and lacing foam.
Scent: A complex entity of caramel malt, fruit, spices and the sweetness of the alcohol.
Flavour: A strong presence of alcohol, very spicy, slightly bitter. The aftertaste is sweet, spicy and slightly bitter.

Take care when you drink this beer—I’d recommend sipping and enjoying slowly while sitting next to the fire, otherwise you may very well see pink elephants—and not the ones on the bottle!

Untappd. BeerAdvocate. RateBeer. Facebook.

The Holiday Ale Festival begins today in Portland

One of Oregon’s signature beer festivals starts today in Portland—the Holiday Ale Festival, which runs through Sunday, December 7 in downtown Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. The Fest is from 11am until 10pm each night except Sunday, when it ends at 5pm. The HAF features something like 77 beers, many of which were brewed just for the Fest, and a number of limited release beers will be featured each day, going on tap at certain times and available during those times only.

Holiday Ale Festival

Most of the beers are strong—there is no lack of barleywines, strong ales, big Belgians, and more—and when you factor in the exclusivity and the limited release beers, it’s safe to say that the Holiday Ale Fest is pretty much a beer geek’s festival.

The standard release beers are listed here, and you can find each day’s limited release beer list here.

Here are the admission guidelines and costs:

*FREE* re-admission into the Festival all 5 days with wristband and current year’s mug.

To enter and taste beers, the purchase of an initial tasting package is required. The package includes a souvenir mug, 12 beer tickets and costs $35 at the door (CASH ONLY). Those that are VISIBLY INTOXICATED will not be served.

Additional beer tickets can be purchased for $1 each. Previous years’ mugs cannot be used and will not be filled; however, current year mugs can be reused on subsequent visits within the same yearly festival.

A “taster” size pour of beer (4oz) requires one ticket (a few limited release and special tapping beers require 2+ tickets). A full mug of beer requires four tickets (some limited release and special tappings may not be available in full mug pours, or may be double tickets).

The festival stops selling beer tickets 1/2 hour prior to the posted closure time.

Shockingly—I’ve never been to the HAF… one of the drawbacks to living over the mountains in the wintertime.

But! This year I will be there—this Friday, the 5th, I’ll be there from roughly noon to 6pm selling my book (I’ll also be at Powell’s Books that evening, and at Belmont Station on Saturday doing the book thing). I don’t know how many holiday beers I will get the chance to try since I’ll basically be working, but I do have to give a big “Thank You!” to the HAF organizers, Preston Weesner in particular, for giving me the somewhat last-minute opportunity to come down and sell some books.

So, don’t miss out on this most excellent of beer festivals—and if you are there on Friday, come find me and you can get a signed copy of the book!

Advent Beer Calendar 2014: Day 3: Fyne Ales Holly Daze

Fyne Ales Holly DazeToday we hop the pond to find our next Advent calendar pick, and discover a Scottish brewery established in 2001: Fyne Ales. They brew a dark amber Winter Warmer that they describe as:

An antidote to Christmas. No strange spices, just a really good stronger beer with a crisp fruity hop flavour and plenty of malt. A refreshing beer to clear the palate.

Thus we have Holly Daze, a 5% abv ale brewed with pale and crystal malts, roast barley, and wheat, along with Challenger, Perle, and Spalt hops. Their tasting notes ties it all together:

Clear amber coloured beer with a white head. Aroma is malty and fruity with some caramel. Flavour is of caramel malts with fruit, has a good bitterness and a slightly dry finish.

I don’t know about an “antidote” to Christmas, because Holly Daze sounds just right for Christmas to me—in fact it sounds like the perfect accompaniment to a holiday movie comedy along the lines of “Christmas Vacation” or “Elf.” Happy Holly Daze!

Untappd. BeerAdvocate. RateBeer. Facebook.

“Oregon Breweries” is out now!

The newest book in the Stackpole “Breweries” series is out now—Oregon Breweries, by beer writer and friend Brian Yaeger, containing listings and info on the 190+ brewing establishments in the state that is as up-to-date as you will find anywhere right now. Brian has been working on this book for a lot longer than I’d been working on Bend Beer, and I have no doubt that this will be a defining directory/guidebook for Oregon for a long time to come.

"Oregon Breweries" by Brian Yaeger

Brian has been lining up a bunch of events (find them on the Facebook page) and I’m pleased to say that I’ll be joining him for a couple this weekend in Portland to promote both of our books: first at Powell’s Books this Friday night for a reading and signing, followed by a pub crawl through the Pearl District (my event page for this is here, Brian’s is here), and then Saturday we’ll be at Belmont Station from 1 to 3pm.

I’m definitely looking forward to buying a copy (and getting it signed, naturally!) and I know that I can heartily recommend this book to any beer lover and reader—so go buy it!

In fact, come find us in Portland this weekend and get both of our books, signed even! They make perfect Christmas gifts.