The Brew Site

Some pics and notes from McMenamins’ High Gravity Extravaganza

I’m a bit behind on posting this and some other events pictures, so I’m doing a bit of catch-up with some short and quick posts. This one concerns the 2nd annual High Gravity Extravaganza held by McMenamins Old St. Francis School here in Bend a couple of weeks ago.

This mini-fest is basically a strong beer invitational, with the OSF inviting other McMenamins breweries as well as Central Oregon breweries—22 in all. Bottom line: it’s a terrific event, and this year it drew in even more people than before. Last year the weather was nice enough for the Extravaganza to be held outdoors, but this year was wintery-er (it is January, after all) so they moved most of the event indoors, to the theater. (There were still eight stations under a tent in the courtyard.) It was very comfortable indoors, and would be the best choice for future iterations.

Yes, they were playing “Strange Brew” on the big screen during the fest!

It was so popular, in fact, that there were reports of kegs blowing as early as 5pm! We got there around 2 or 2:30pm or so to meet friends, and there was a nice crowd that just got bigger throughout the rest of the day. There was live music playing as well as food being served (always good when strong beers are being consumed).

The ticketing worked the same as last year: you got a glass and a punchcard that had 12 punches available—each punch worth one four-ounce pour. For obvious reasons, with 22 strong beers being poured, there is no responsible way any one person can taste every beer in one afternoon/evening. I myself only worked my way through 9 of the 12 punches (though to be fair, one was an inadvertent full pour). Here’s what I ticked off:

  1. McMenamins Roseburg – Locomotivator Doppelbock (7.74%)
  2. Silver Moon Brewing – Trainwreck Barleywine (10.9%)
  3. McMenamins OSF – Shadow of the Dark Belgian Strong (8.3%)
  4. McMenamins Edgefield – Double Dragon DIPA (9.55%)
  5. Bend Brewing Company – Baltic Porter (10.2%)
  6. McMenamins Monroe (Corvallis) – Wade’s Choice Oak Aged DIPA (8.75%)
  7. McMenamins Crystal Brewery – 13th Avenue Barleywine (12.77% – strongest at the fest!)
  8. RiverBend Brewing – Right Said Red (10%)
  9. Wild Ride Brewing – XR7 Triple IPA (11%)

These were tasty beers, and I believe my favorite for the day was the Bend Brewing Baltic Porter.

And the first three hours, the brewers from each brewery were on-hand to talk up and answer questions about the beers. I couldn’t resist grabbing a picture of two of my favorite Bend brewers, Veronica Vega (of Deschutes Brewery) and Jeff Schauland (of Silver Moon):

All told, it was another great event, with great beers represented and I look forward to the return of this fest next year!

(Disclosure: McMenamins OSF provided me my tasting package (glass plus punchcard) to the event. Other purchases were my own.)