No posted Oregon Beer News this week—summertime in August means taking some time off from the daily postings. However there are still a bunch of events going on this week, in particular some big beer festivals, so here’s a quick list from my notes:
Quite a bit going on! I might have some more detailed posts about some of these like the Bend Brewfest queued up this week but the daily news posts are on holiday.
The first Friday of August means it’s time for another round of The Session, the long-running collaborative “Beer Blogging Friday.” This month’s Session is hosted by Allen at Active Brewer, and the topic is “The Landscape of Beer“:
Our topic this month is, “The Landscape of Beer“. How do you see that landscape now? What about in 5, 10, or even 20 years? A current goal in the American Craft Beer Industry is 20% market share by the year 2020. How can we get there? Can we get there?
Whether your view is realistic or whimsical, what do you see in our future? Is it something you want or something that is happening? Let us know and maybe we can help paint the future together.
Would it be cynical for me to imagine a future of increased fragmentation in the market? In this case I’m defining “fragmentation” to mean more and more nanobreweries (which seems to be the trend from what I’ve been seeing out here in the Pacific Northwest) leading to an ever-changing, sometimes random rotation of beers available on tap at any given time. Why nanos? Simple, it’s a much lower barrier to entry. And then the fact that the average American craft-beer-drinking attention span seems to be that of a hummingbird further pushes beer drinkers to constantly seek out new beers from new breweries, feeding this brewery growth in the marketplace, furthering the cycle. As the craft beer market share increases over the macros, it’s easy to imagine all of these thousands of small breweries chipping away at it, a few gallons at a time, with the monolithic brewing companies slowly dying the death of a thousand papercuts.
Yeah, it’s an odd mixed metaphor vision of things but right now the number of new breweries entering the market is growing at a furious pace and it’s a struggle to keep up with it all. I mean let’s be honest, here in Central Oregon alone we have 28 breweries (and at least four cideries) and as the “Bend Beer Guy” even I can’t keep up with all their latest developments—I’d have to be visiting (and/or drinking beer from) a brewery a day, every day, for a month just to keep in the loop! You go to bigger beer-active cities, and frankly I don’t know how any one person could keep up with it all on a reasonable basis.
I don’t see this as a bad thing; diversity is good for the market. I mean, if I can find locally-brewed beer in a random small town or region then I’m excited to try it. But it’s important to remember that quality and sustainability are important, too, and not every one of these breweries will survive long-term. And I’m not even getting into consolidation and acquisition, which is also playing a big part in shaping the future beer landscape.
That’s what I’m seeing: the macros, a few very big craft breweries, regionals, and the increasing fragmentation of the market by many nanos (punctuated by the occasional larger brewery—10 to 30 barrels). Naturally there will be cycles of shakeout and collapse as well, but I’m less inclined to try to predict those compared to what I see actively happening around us now.
Is there an upper limit to the number of breweries? That I don’t know, but I’m fairly confident we have a ways to go yet.
Happy weekend! Here’s the news in Oregon beer for Friday, August 7, and the rest of the weekend. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back often. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted as well.
Logsdon Farmhouse Ales (Hood River): Today is the opening day of their new Logsdon Barrel House & Taproom in downtown Hood River: “We are opening our doors to the public this coming Friday, August 7. Our opening draft lineup will include all of our current beers, which entails…of course…Peche ‘n Brett. In addition to our offerings we’ll be featuring Bockor Vanderghinste and Kwak (served in the appropriate proprietary glassware). Come one, come all! We’re excited to open this new chapter, and we’re excited to share it with you.”
Portland U-Brew & Pub (Portland): Today and tomorrow is their annual Westmoreland/Sellwood Summer Brewfest! It starts at noon each day and features: “6 local breweries on tap, cider from Bushwacker, live music all weekend, BBQ, fundraiser for Angelo’s Brian tumor foundation (Angelo and I will brew a special batch). Kid/pet friendly, outdoor events with tents. $20 for a mug and 10 samples.$1.00 samples. AND FUN!” The special beer brewed with Angelo of Brewpublic is “Grain brain apricot /peach pale ale.”
Disclosure: I visited McMenamins Old St. Francis School here in Bend a few weeks ago because I had a “free growlette fill” postcard (“growlette” being a 32-ounce half-sized growler) for their Copper Moon seasonal. While there I stopped in at the brewery to say hi to brewer Mike “Curly” White and in addition to the free fill of Copper Moon, he gave me a bottle of the newly-retooled Sunflower IPA.
The story behind the new-ish Sunflower is here; it’s brewed at bottled at the Edgefield brewery. I’m not 100% sure if they are only brewing it up as a summer seasonal but I think that is the case.
What is our secret Sunflower recipe, you ask? We brewed with Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops and dry-hopped with Falconer’s Flight 7 C’s pellets. We updated the hopping to better reflect current trends in late-addition hopping and dry-hopping techniques – both of which add hop flavor and aroma to the brew. The varieties we chose should impart citrus and tropical fruit character with a mellow but present hop bitterness backed up with a simple malt bill designed to provide a balanced sweetness, maximize body, mouthfeel and head retention while staying out of the way of the hops and resulting in an ABV of 6.3%.
What better day to crack open this bottle for a review than IPA Day?
Appearance: It’s amazingly clear and bright, a shiny copper color. There’s ample finely-whipped foam piled up that’s leaving good lacing.
Smell: Delivers on the citrusy hops, a nice fruity green punch of aromatics. Some orange zest, guava pineapple juice, and hints of that spicy-onion Mosaic note.
Taste: Bitter greens, like dandelion, with a bit of scallion greens (the green leafy parts, not the white fleshy part), a nice spicy-earthy bitterness. The malt is simple and clean, like a really good English floor malt, and marries well with the hops. There’s a good balance though it’s definitely hop-forward, but there’s nothing over the top in any one direction.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, clean and very drinkable. Residual earthy flavors in aftertaste.
Overall: Quite a nice example of the style, somewhat melding English IPA with American sensibilities, and the hops work well here. It’s super drinkable as well, not being overly strong or palate-scrapingly bitter. Well done.
Happy IPA Day, everyone!
Happy #IPADay! Drink an IPA today, and hashtag it on social media. I’ll be drinking one later; in the meantime, here’s the Oregon beer news for Thursday, August 6. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day, so check back often. And if you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated as well.
Belmont Station (Portland) has a cider tasting today with Washington’s Snowdrift Cider from 5 to 7pm: “Snowdrift’s orchard is set against a dramatic backdrop of basalt cliffs in sunny East Wenatchee, Wash., where they have been growing apples for over 30 years. Come taste a wide variety of their offerings, including their dry, semi-dry, summer red and their perry, made exclusively from central Washington perry pears.”
Meanwhile in Eugene, The Bier Stein has a cider tasting today with Seattle Cider Company and Two Beers Brewing: “Come down to taste some great beer and cider! We will have Two Beers Evo IPA, Forester Double IPA, and Rum Barrel Aged Belgian Imperial Porter on tap. For cider we’ll have Citrus, Berry, and Gravenstein Rose (the wine, not the flower). Owner Eric will be here giving out free samples and swag- pint glasses, growlers, hats, etc.” Tasting is from 6 to 9pm.
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