Received: McMenamins’ new cans

These arrived this past Friday:

Received: McMenamins new cans

The new canned offerings from McMenamins, their Ruby Ale and Hammerhead Ale. There is also a contest for the month of August, “Share photos of you and the shiny new McMenamins cans, tagged #McMenaCANS, for a chance to win prizes and gift cards.”

I rather like the designs, they are keeping with the overall McMenamins aesthetic. Plus, check out that Hammerhead ornament!

The Session #114: Pilsners

The SessionI missed the August edition of The Session last Friday entirely due to what has become The Busiest Summer Ever™, but I couldn’t let it completely pass without a quick note. It was hosted by Alistair Reece over at Fuggled, with the style topic of Pilsners:

What I want folks to do is put down their IPAs, their Belgians, their sours, their barrel aged stuff, and hunt out a few pilsners to compare and contrast, whether they be Czech, German, Belgian, American, etc, etc. Try to get examples of Czech and German in particular to see the differences. Most of all though I just want people to re-discover what I consider the pinnacle of the brewing craft, so off hunting you go!

As is happens, my print article in the local newspaper almost exactly one month earlier was on Pilsners! Talk about synergy:

The return of hot weather tends to bring with it a desire for light, crisp, session beers — ones that quench your thirst without being too heavy or intoxicating. Usually there is no shortage of summer ale options, including wheat beers, fruit beers, session IPAs, Kölsch and blonde ales. Personally, it’s hard to pass up a well-brewed, classic pilsner this time of year.

Here in Central Oregon, we are fortunate to have a number of excellent examples of the classic styles to choose from this summer. Here are several offerings from area breweries, and be sure to keep an eye out for others as well.

Go read the full article for my rundown of the local pilsners.

Greetings from OBF!

Oregon Brewers Festival 2016

It’s a beautiful,  hot weekend in Portland for the annual Oregon Brewers Festival — just the way we like it! If you’re coming today come check out the Beer Books table, I’ll be there from noon to at least 4pm with copies of Bend Beer for sale.

And don’t forget to check out the International Tent either! Great beers to be had there.

See you there!

The Oregon Trail, Rural Brewers, and more

Historic map of the Oregon Trail

There are a few events taking place around the state of Oregon today (Saturday, July 23) that you might be interested in.

The Oregon Trail Brew Fest: This inaugural festival taking place in downtown Oregon City from 11 to 9pm is clever and probably a first, featuring breweries along the historic Oregon Trail. The Trail began in Independence, Missouri and ended in Oregon City, and the festival organizers have brought in beers from the likes of Boulevard Brewing (Missouri), Kinkaider Brewing (Nebraska), Nebraska Brewing Company, Snake River Brewery (Wyoming), Melvin Brewing (Wyoming), Slanted Rock Brewing (Idaho), Laughing Dog Brewing (Idaho), and Payette Brewing (Idaho). (Note: These were the ones listed in an email I received a few weeks ago, the Facebook event list is a bit different.) And, yes, Oregon breweries too, including Terminal Gravity, Hermiston Brewing, Pfriem Family Brewers, Ecliptic Brewing, Oregon City Brewing, and more.

I think this is a neat idea and definitely a chance to sample some interesting out-of-state beers. Cost is $15 in advance or $20 at the door, which gets you the commemorative glass plus tasting tokens.

The Rural Brewer Fest 2016The Rural Brewer Fest: Portland’s Hawthorne Hophouse is hosting this second annual beerfest organized by Brian Yaeger. Running from 2 to 7pm, this fest “will once again celebrate more than a dozen of the smallest and most remote breweries in Oregon” from towns of less than population 10,000 and will include:

  • Bent Shovel Brewing (near Barton)
  • Boring Brewing Co (Boring)
  • Chetco Brewing Company (Brookings)
  • Deception Brewing Company (Dundee)
  • Defeat River Brewery (Reedsport)
  • Dragon’s Gate Brewery (Milton-Freewater)
  • North Jetty Brewing (Seaview, WA)
  • Silver Falls Brewery (Silverton)
  • Siuslaw Brewing (Alsea)
  • Solera Brewery(Parkdale)
  • Steens Mountain Brewing Company (Burns)
  • Wolf Tree Brewery (Seal Rock)
  • Yachats Brewing + Farmstore (Yachats)

(I note that North Jetty from Washington snuck in there, but to be fair they are not too far from Astoria.)

Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 at the door. You’ll get a souvenir glass and 8 tokens for that, with additional tokens $1.

Whole Foods Summer Brewefst 2016Whole Foods Summer Brewfest: The Whole Foods Market in Bend is hosting their fifth annual Summer Brewfest from 2 to 6pm, with proceeds benefiting the High Desert Museum.  They are featuring 25 breweries (many of them local) and live music, and entry is only $5 which gets you two tasting tokens. (Additional ones are $1 of course.)

The event takes place in the parking lot adjacent to the store, and the first 100 guests will also get a free logo pint glass.

Oregon Brewers Festival 2016 – What you need to know

Oregon Brewers Festival 2016You probably don’t need me to tell you the Oregon Brewers Festival is taking place next week in Portland. This year marks the 29th annual iteration of this event, one of the oldest and largest in the country, and it’s pretty well known so I’ll dispense with the usual event details; you can find what you need on the website.

So how about some things about the OBF that you may not know? Fortunately I’ve got a few to share.

(Plus my usual disclosure: I will be attending OBF under media credentials, and I’ll be selling books on Thursday and Friday. The media credentials usually come with some free beer.)

There are 88 beers pouring from American breweries this year, and then the International Beer Garden pulls in additional beers and brewers from around the globe and looks pretty great:

The International Beer Garden will feature another 25 products, with six breweries from Japan – Baird, Iwate Kura Beer, North Island, Shiga Kogen, Shonan and Y Market; seven breweries from The Netherlands – De Molen, Frontaal, Maximus, Oedipus, Oersoep, Oproer and Van Moll; one brewery from China, Jing-A; plus two breweries from Germany – Brauerei Nothhaft and Lang Bräu. The brewers from each country will be available daily to talk about their beer. The International Beer Garden was incorporated three years ago as part of a cultural exchange of ideas, knowledge and the celebration of craft beer.

I think this is the first year that breweries (and brewers) from Japan will be there. And in fact on Thursday the 28th, Belmont Station is hosting a public meet-the-Japanese-brewers event from 6 to 8pm. (I will be attending the media-only version the hour before.)

So that’s 113 beers pouring, and there are a surprising number of German-style sours:

  • Gose: 5
  • Berliner Weisse: 8

Together these make up 11% of the total, which is pretty impressive to me. Some of the names of these are great too: Boom Gose the Dynamite (McMenamins Edgefield), Gose Gose Gadget (Stone! Who would have predicted they would bring a gose?), Disco Lemonade (Aslan).

And then there are the just-plain-unusual beers by style, or ingredients, or whatever. Such as:

  • Mango Helles from Base Camp Brewing
  • Cedar IPA from Burnside Brewing
  • Japanese Herb Ale Sansho from Iwate Kura Beer
  • Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Mexican Spice Cake from New Holland Brewing
  • Kentucky Refresh-Mint from Old Town Brewing (“Mint Julep Beer”)
  • Lemon Curd ESB from Pints Brewing
  • Luikse Vechter from Van Moll (55% spelt malt)

Among others. Go check out the online list; it’s pretty great. (And I’m sure Jeff will post his usual deep-dive style breakdown to get a sense of what hot (and not) this year.)

And there’s a new mug this year! Here’s the scoop, and a picture:

For the first 25 years of the OBF, beers were served in a thick, milky white plastic mug. In 2013, we switched over to a glass to better allow the color of the beer to shine through. That continued in 2014, but last year the Portland Police and Portland Parks decided to ban glass from all parks, so we switched to a high-quality, BPA-free plastic glass. This year, we are returning to a mug, but now it’s a 12 oz. clear styrene plastic free of BPA and phthalates.

Oregon Brewers Festival 2016 mug

See you at OBF!