Oregon Beer News, 03/05/2015

Oregon BeerHere is the Oregon beer news for Thursday, the 5th of March. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day, so check back often. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted as well.

McMenamins Old Church & Pub (Wilsonville) has their monthly special beer tasting today starting at 5pm, featuring Purple Monster Fruit Ale: “With spring right around the corner it’s time to take a break from all the heavy dark beers of winter and try something a bit more refreshing. That’s why we took our “Purple People Eater Berry Weizen” and blended it with aged Berliner-weizen to create an exceptionally balanced and crisp fruit beer. Raspberry and boysenberry notes mingle with flavors of fresh cut straw and ripe bananas. A mild tartness balances the beer without dominating it, resulting in a beer that is not only refreshing and light, but layered and complex.” At 4.9% it sounds pretty easy drinking, great to go with the weather we’ve been having.

The Bier Stein (Eugene) is hosting Bend’s Crux Fermentation Project for the Eugene release of their Freakcake Oud Bruin-styled beer, and will be doing a tap takeover as well. “It’s not everyday we get to drink a locally brewed Oud Bruin– a Belgian-style soured, barrel-aged brown ale. Crux Fermentation Project out of Bend, OR produces one– Freakcake– as part of their Banished series. We have bottles for sale, and will have Impasse Saison and Lemon Drop IPA (pub specialty kegs), Nitro Stout, Parkway Pils, Half Hitch Imperial IPA, and of course Freakcake on draught. Brewery rep Matt will have some Crux hats and stickers to give away, and we’ll have a good ol’ time.” The event runs from 5 to 8pm.

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Oregon Beer News, 03/04/2015

Oregon BeerDogs and recording studios—that’s how the beer news starts today for this Wednesday, March 4. Here’s that news and more; as usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back often for updates. And if you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated as well.

Full Sail Brewing (Hood River) is teaming up with Portland’s The EastBurn for a special vintage stout tasting and fundraising event dubbed “Stouts and Snouts” this Saturday, March 7: “Here’s a rare opportunity to sample 7 consecutive years of Full Sail’s Bourbon Barrel Aged vintages and benefit a great cause. Hors d’oeuvres will be served and there will even be a Puppy Kissing Booth! Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door the day of the event. For your ticket you will receive 5 tokens which will be redeemable for tastings and/or adorable puppy kisses. Additional tokens will be available for $1 each. All kissing booth proceeds, silent auction and adoption fees will benefit Oregon Humane Society. OHS puppies will be available for adoption.” It runs from 7 to 10pm Saturday.

This was some unusual news that came through last week: Eugene’s Ninkasi Brewing is opening their own in-house recording studio. From the press release: “Ninkasi Brewing Company believes crafted, independent beer and music is a winning combination. Since the beginning Ninkasi has supported local artists in a variety of ways, all organized by James Book, Ninkasi brand and experiential marketing director. With the opening of its new Ninkasi Studios this past June, the brewery announces its first original musical offering— the “Dawn of the Red Compilation EP,” available on Ninkasi’s website this March.” An interesting development for a brewery to take, one I wouldn’t have guessed. Keep an eye out on their website for the free download of their Dawn of the Red Compilation.

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Coming soon to Bend: Immersion Brewing

Word of the latest brewery-in-planning to come to Bend, Oregon, has hit the streets in earnest within the past week or so: Immersion Brewing, which will combine a Brew-It-Yourself setup allowing people to come in and brew their own beer in the you-brew model along with a 10-barrel brewing system and kitchen to offer the full brewpub experience as well. (At first I took them to only be a brew-on-premise operation.) Similar in concept to the Portland U-Brew & Pub but on a larger scale.

Immersion Brewing

Here’s some snippets from their site with details:

Owners Sean, Rachael, and Amanda are excited to bring this beer-crazed town yet another fantastic brewery, along with a unique Brew-it-Yourself experience.

Brew-It-Yourself on our professional grade, copper kettles by reserving a 2-hour brew experience. We offer over 30 house recipes to choose from and the knowledge of an experienced brewer to guide you through the process. Customize your own recipe or give us an idea of your tastes and our brewer will develop a recipe just for you.

Drink craft beer created from our 10-barrel brewing system. Our brewing system, made right here in Oregon, enables us to offer unique craft beers with rotating specialty and seasonal beers. Stop by anytime and enjoy a pint!

Eat great food from our full pub-style family kitchen. What’s a good beer without tasty eats to go with it? Our food will pair perfectly with our great selection of beers on tap.

They are planning to open in the Old Mill Marketplace on the edge of the Old Mill District, next door to the new tasting room that Atlas Cider is building, and less than half a mile away from Crux Fermentation Project and even closer to the former Old Mill Brew Wërks location (which will soon be housing the new Craft Kitchen and Brewery that’s taking OMBW’s place). (And with Rat Hole Brewpub roughly the same distance away as Crux, the Old Mill is turning into quite the little beer destination!)

Here are details they have on the brew-on-premise model:

The brewing process takes about 2 hours, after which the fermentation will take place in our climate controlled fermentation room. Our brewery staff will monitor your beer and prepare it for your bottling appointment about 2-3 weeks later. We will work with you to create custom labels for your new brew. When you return for your bottling session your beer will already be chilled, carbonated, and ready to enjoy! It takes about 45 minutes to bottle, and you will leave with 48 bottles (4 cases) of beer!

(I should point out that unless they are likely referring to 22-ounce bottles with 12 to a case, because 48 12-ounce bottles only amounts to two cases of beer.)

Two hours is pretty quick for a brew session if you’re doing all-grain, and that definitely does not account for cleanup, so that could be a sweet deal if you get to get in, brew, and miss out on the cleanup!

I’ll post more as I get additional details, so keep an eye out.

Deschutes Brewery introduces their “Street Pub”

At first blush I thought Deschutes Brewery’s new Street Pub had taken a page from Silver Moon Brewing and their Moon Rover “pop up pub”—which in turn took a page from Deschutes’ own Woody, the giant mobile keg-tavern—but this Street Pub is taking the concept to an epic level.

Deschutes Brewery Street Pub

We’re super excited to announce that we’re setting up shop in your town for one day! That’s right, we’re bringing our outdoor pub of epic proportions to each of the cities below for an all out block party. Crafted from reclaimed wood and steel, our Street Pub will be a one-stop-shop to try several of our beers – from the coveted Reserve Series rarities (think The Abyss) all the way to year-round favorites like Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Pair those beers up with culinary creations from our Executive Chef, Jeff Usinowicz, and live local music – and you have a street party that’s truly “crafted for community.”

In each city we’ll partner with a local charity so you’ll be drinking for a good cause. The amount of money raised will be determined by how much beer we sell. So, grab your friends and check out the Street Pub when it rolls through your town.

The heart of this Street Pub concept is the bar, which their accompanying teaser video highlights (and which I’ve embedded below)—but this is no mere mobile bar top they can throw up just anywhere: with 4,296 feet of reclaimed oak, 10,000 pounds of steel, and 40 taps, this bar is apparently 400+ feet long! (I’m getting that 400-plus number from the Street Pub event listings here.)

To put it another way: this is bigger and has more than twice as many taps as the main Bend Pub bar.

The Street Pub block parties will start in Bend on May 9 and then head to the east coast and make their way westward. Here’s the schedule:

  • May 9: Bend, OR (soft launch, aka test run)
  • May 30: Philadelphia, PA
  • June 27: Arlington, VA
  • August 1: Cleveland, OH
  • August 22: Chicago, IL
  • September 19: Minneapolis/St Paul, MN
  • October 17: Denver, CO
  • November 14: Sacramento, CA

And the video:

Tuesday Tastings: Donkey Deux, Pamplemousse, Urban Farmhouse

Here’s the second installment in my weekly Tuesday Tastings series. Today I’m reviewing a Seattle beer and two Portland beers. On to it!

Georgetown Brewing Donkey DeuxGeorgetown Brewing Donkey Deux

This was a bottle I picked up from Seattle’s Georgetown Brewing last October when visiting for Elysian Brewing’s Great Pumpkin Beer Festival; Georgetown is basically around the corner from Elysian, so it was a convenient and fruitful stop. Because Georgetown is strictly a production brewery with a tasting room, they offer all of your tastes for free (I don’t recall if this is a quirk in Washington state law, or just how Georgetown does it). You can buy beer to go (mostly growlers of course), but they also had a bottled beer available for sale, a Belgian-style Dubbel that’s 8.4% abv named Donkey Deux. Here’s their quick description:

A Belgian Dubbel style ale brewed with 110lbs of Candi Sugar, fermented with traditional Belgian yeast and bottle conditioned, DD is big on classic Belgian flavor.

Appearance: Dark brown in color, with chestnut highlights and a light tan head. It’s thick enough to be almost opaque.

Smell: Toasty malts, candi sugar, prunes, raisins. A touch of dark toast (rye or pumpernickel). Hints of molasses. The Belgian yeast characters is present, though mellow and restrained.

Taste: Rich and malty with toasty-crusty sweet bread, dark fruits (prunes again), fig, and a nice, sweet roastiness from the Special B malt. Balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, a nice sweetness in the finish without being cloying.

Overall: Very nice, a well-brewed and balanced Dubbel (perhaps one of the better American versions I’ve had).

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

Lompoc Brewing Pamplemousse Citrus IPALompoc Brewing Pamplemousse Citrus IPA

Lompoc’s IPA built upon grapefruit had been sent out to me a little while back, in a package that not only included two bottles of the beer but also a pint glass, grapefruit, and bottle opener/USB stick. I did in fact drink it around that time, and enjoyed it; at 5.8% abv it’s a little on the lower end of the American IPA spectrum but makes up for it with the 70 IBUs. Lompoc says:

This deep golden, medium bodied Citrus IPA offers up refreshment that will satisfy all your senses. Four hop varieties along with real grapefruit juice build a solid hop bitterness highlighted by citrus notes, both on the tongue and in the nose.

Appearance: Copper-gold color, bright and clear. Effervescent; the slightly off-white head is fizzy.

Smell: Hoppy citrus, as advertised, with grapefruit zest. Hints of juice, a clean green hoppiness punctuated by hints of sweet crystal malts.

Taste: Bitter right up front and it’s all citrus peel and pith and rind—kind of reminds me of that oily bitterness you get from the peel of an orange or grapefruit as it coats the tongue. The malt is clean, light, and neutral, serving primarily (and very well) to highlight that bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium-bodied, with an oily citrus peel bitter aftertaste that lingers.

Overall: Bitter, yet clean. While not nearly as citrus/grapefruit as Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin (which has become my new benchmark), it’s very drinkable and on the light(ish) side, and I’m enjoying the flavors.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer

The Commons Brewery Urban Farmhouse AleThe Commons Brewery Urban Farmhouse Ale

I had this awhile ago, and it’s high time I posted notes and commented on it. Urban Farmhouse is The Commons’ flagship beer, a traditionally-styled farmhouse ale that has garnered many accolades—with good reason.

It’s very easy drinking at 5.3% abv, meaning you can put down a full 750ml bottle of it by yourself (probably), though this is a great beer for sharing. Their description:

Traditionally, Farmhouse Ales were brewed on farms in the French and Flemish regions of Belgium. These beers were born out of necessity as most water was not potable and the farmers needed a refreshing beverage to offer the hardworking farmhands. Our rendition was developed in the spirit of that tradition. The beer pours golden with a floral nose and a soft underlying hop bitterness with a crisp finish.

Appearance: Hazy straw yellow with lacy, beaten egg white head. Fine effervescence yields tiny bubbles constantly and continuously rising as I drank.

Smell: Herbal, slightly phenolic, crisp wheat notes, spicy Noble(ish) hops. Nicely Belgian-y without overloading the senses in any particular direction.

Taste: Crisp, herbal, wheat and corn graininess which is quite nice. Clean bitterness that’s neutral with a hint of spiciness. Light for a straight-up saison but that makes for a nicely light presence on the tongue, making it eminently drinkable.

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium body, highly carbonated (tingly on the tongue), very clean and crisp with a lightly bitter finish.

Overall: Excellent example of the style, and one I wish I could get more often. The Commons has it going on.

Untappd, BeerAdvocate, RateBeer