Here’s the news in Oregon beer for Thurdsay, November 21st—one week away from Thanksgiving! As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news as I find it, so check back often. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated as well.
Interested in checking out some cider? Portland’s Bushwacker Cider today is holding a winter showcase of ciders from Washington’s Finnriver Farm & Cidery today from 5 to 9pm: “Finnriver has a more diverse lineup than just about any other cidery and for one night you can indulge in a glorious assortment of beverages for cider and fruit lovers as well as take bottles and chocolates home for yourself or as gifts. Finnriver’s lovely Jana Daisy-Ensign will be at Bushwhacker and able to answer any question about Finnriver’s extroardinary lineup while offering free samples from the bottles of their rare Artisan champagne style cider, port-style apple wine and apple brandy fruit wines. Meanwhile at the bar, Bushwhacker will have all 8 taps taken over by their ciders. These include the popular sparkling ciders from their regular lineup, limited releases and seasonal releases from their botanically infused line.” This sounds like a great time and one I’d definitely like to check out (if only I were in Portland!)—don’t miss it if you can.
Golden Valley Brewery (McMinnville): Today is the release of their new Subduction Zone CDA, with release parties I believe at both the McMinnville and Beaverton locations. Subduction Zone is 6.6% abv and 66 IBUs, and describe as: “Cascadia is a region blessed with verdant hills and valleys, yet beneath the surface lurks a sea of molten rock, waiting for its next opportunity to burst forth and blacken the landscape. Similarly, our Cascadian Dark Ale is topped with a bright, lush hop aroma, reminiscent of citrus and pine, while below lies a dark, roasty body issuing forth notes of coffee, chocolate, and toast. Apollo, Bravo, and Columbus hops meet roasted barley, wheat, and chocolate malt. In the middle, it’s the Subduction Zone.” For the release, the beer will be tapped at 3pm (I think at both locations) and there will be $2 pints until the first keg blows.
Continue reading “Oregon Beer News, 11/21/2013” »
Tonight I cracked open a bottle of Calapooia Brewing‘s Norman Ale, the collaboration Northwest Pale Ale they brewed in conjunction with the band Norman whose new album Into the Eventyr was just released this week (yesterday, in fact). You’ll remember this was the bottle I received a few weeks ago, along with the album itself.
I’ve been listening to the album these past couple of weeks to get a feel for it, and while I’m not a hardcore music aficionado I rather quite like it. Maybe it’s the power of suggestion but to me the music does have a pretty strong Portland/western Oregon feel to it, the occasional song simultaneously layered with hints of grunge and 70s folk rock. I do particularly like the first song on the track, “Hawk” which heads up the album as the first single.
So, the beer. Norman approached Calapooia to brew up what could be considered a fairly representative “northwest” beer to accompany the album, a hoppy, drinkable pale ale, and according to the press release it wasn’t just hiring a brewery to contract up a beer:
Norman worked personally with the brewers who hand-crafted this ale and not only inspired its production, but actually took party in the brewing process.
The beer itself is 5% abv, eschewing the usual practice of brewing up a special-release beer like this to extremes (11% barrel-aged rustic quadruple IPA brewed at sea with truffle and porcinis, anyone?), making this a welcome easy-drinking beer to accompany the music.
You can see in the picture it’s a really nice dark honey gold color, clear, with a white head. On the nose it’s sweet and grainy, full of honey malts and caramel, with a kiss of spicy hops. To me it has kind of a classic malty amber ale profile which I quite like.
In flavor the hops comes through: it has a woody, earthy bitterness that’s clean and dry and plays well off the grainy body built from a clean and steely-roast malt that enhances the bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, clean, crisp, and dry. Though not at IPA levels it’s definitely a Northwest Pale Ale with enough hops to keep the northwest palate interested, with a lingering hoppiness. Very pleasantly drinkable, and yes I think it pairs well with the album: both are very nicely “Oregon.”
And as a bonus for reading all the way to the end of this review, a surprise: if you scan the QR code on the label of the bottle with your smartphone, you will receive a free download of the entire “Into the Eventyr” album! So even if you haven’t heard Norman’s music before, seek out a bottle of Norman Ale and you will—and you’ll be glad you did.
It’s a cold one today, a good day to grab a hearty beer and sit by an open fire if you can swing it. If not, maybe today’s beer news from around Oregon will help keep you warm! All the news that’s fit to print for Wednesday, November 20. 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 posted as well.
Oblivion Brewing (Bend): If you haven’t yet had a chance to try beer from one of Bend’s newest breweries, the Mountain Jug in Sunriver is hosting a tasting and meet the brewer from 5 to 8pm. Brewer/owner Darin Butschy will be on hand pouring his Porter and Pale Ale and it’s sure to be a good time, so swing on by.
McMenamins Oak Hills Brewpub (Portland) has a limited-edition beer tasting tonight starting at 4pm, featuring Oak Aged Rhino Stout: “The Oak Aged Rhino Stout is a wonderful spin on the old Oak Hills Favorite. First brewed on September 22, 1993 for the Oak Hills Anniversary Party, the original Rhino Stout was well received and became wildly popular. For this special edition keg, the dark, roasty ale has been aged on a healthy dose of French oak. The result is new oak barrel flavor combined with the coffee, and dark chocolate essence of the Rhino Stout. We tip our cap to Rhino Stout designers Keith Mackie and Troy Dockins in bringing back this old school McMenamins classic.”
Continue reading “Oregon Beer News, 11/20/2013” »
Here is the news in Oregon beer for Tuesday, the 19th of November. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back often. And if you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted as well.
Today is the 28th birthday of McMenamins‘ flagship Terminator Stout, first brewed at the original McMenamins Hillsdale Brewery way back in 1985. In addition to site-wide specials like $2.50 pints of Terminator, Terminator food specials and 20% off Terminator merch in the online store, there are a number of other special events happening today for it:
- Hillsdale has Terminator chocolate (birthday) cake and brewery tours from 3 to 6pm.
- The Bagdad Theater has a special Cain & Abel beer release (which apparently is also pouring at the Edgefield) featuring a Hogshead Whiskey Barrel Terminator (Cain) and Three Rocks Rum Barrel Terminator (Abel). Along with those they will be hosting author Pete Dunlop for a book signing of his recently-released Portland Beer, and a showing of the movies “Terminator” and “Terminator 2″.
- The Ringlers Pub in Portland will have a Barrel Fermented Terminator Tap Takeover featuring four wood-fermented variation of Terminator.
- Mall 205 in Portland is featuring a special American oaked Whiskey Terminator pouring today.
Continue reading “Oregon Beer News, 11/19/2013” »
This is the time of year that the winter seasonal beers start appearing in earnest, just in time for the holiday season and chill weather to roll in, and many of these holiday beers are favorites for me—I always look forward to them coming out (though not too early). Accordingly, last night I opened up the two Kris Kringles that I picked up on Friday from McMenamins Old St. Francis School, to do a side-by-side tasting comparison.
The growler was brewed here in Bend at the Old St. Francis School by brewer Mike “Curly” White; the bottle is from the Edgefield brewery in Troutdale. They are brewed to the same recipe (presumably!) though you have to expect there could well be differences in ingredients (depending on the malt and hop availability) and of course there will be differences that stem from the brewing process itself—the same recipe brewed on different equipment will definitely have different characteristics.
Here’s what McMenamins says about this year’s batch, along with the ingredients and stats:
This year’s version of Kris Kringle is a hearty and robust ale with a big and bold malt complexity as well as an intense and flavorful hop profile. This “winter warmer” highlights the rich, toasty, aromatic and chocolaty malt flavors as its very sturdy foundation. Generous amounts of four different hop varieties were added in five different additions that delivers a magnificent and massive hop assault. There’s still some ginger and cinnamon added into the batch but the spices are a little more subdued than in years’ past.
Malts Used: GWM Pale Ale Malt, GWM Munich Malt, GWM Wheat Malt, GWM 15L Crystal Malt, GWM 120L Crystal Malt, Baird’s Chocolate Malt
Hops Used: Centennial (Bittering & Flavor), Santiam (Flavor), Cascade (Flavor & Aroma), Sterling (Flavor & Aroma)
Alcohol: 6.84% by volume
OG: 1.068 TG: 1.015
(“GWM” in the malt list refers to Great Western Malting.)
Both beers pour about the same color (though my wife pointed out the draft version looked darker), with the local draft having a hazier, less-filtered appearance and the bottled version being visibly more carbonated.
On the nose the draft version definitely smells fresher; the Kringle from the bottle is malty with a hint of roastiness, and a grainy aroma that reminds me of dark crystal malts and the grain dust that gets kicked up in the grain room at the Brew Shop when crushing malts. There’s a touch of lightly spicy hops that are a bit herbal. The freshness of the draft beer is definitely in the hops, with a green fresh quality that’s peppery and zesty like mustard greens or arugula. It reminds me of the same herbal fresh hop character than Curly’s Golden Sparrow Fresh Hop Ale exhibited.
I think the aroma is where the differences are most pronounced, though you can find some differences in the taste and mouthfeel as well. From the bottle the beer comes across to me as a malty brown ale with earthiness and a bit of spice and some leathery molasses character. The draft version is maltier with a creamier, softer base that’s smoother and maybe even slightly more warming (as in, higher gravity/alcohol, though this is pure subjective speculation). It’s less earthy and spicy with more dark sugars. The higher carbonation of the bottled Kringle must come into play here as well, as it has more of an “edge” to it and feels a bit thinner.
Overall I’m impressed with how close these beers are in character, and some of the differences are pretty subtle. The (local) draft version is interesting in that it seems to be more pronounced in hops in the aroma but less in the flavor in favor of creamy maltiness, but because of that I think it’s more balanced in the end.
Hat tip to McMenamins for generously providing the beer. If you get the chance, pick up a bottle of Kris Kringle and try it side-by-side against a locally-brewed draft version, and see what you think.