Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oregon Tilth Hosts Annual Meeting at Laurelwood Public House

Today's post is by special guest columnist Connie Umphress.

Goschie Farms
Thursday, October 27 the Oregon Tilth hosted its Annual Meeting at Laurelwood’s Public House and Brewery on Sandy Boulevard. The event highlighted the passionate work done by Laurelwood’s brewers and chefs to incorporate organics into the menu. I was fortunate to meet Gayle Goschie, a local farmer who is making organic and “Salmon Safe” hops available to breweries. Goschie Farms has been operating in the Pacific Northwest since the 1880s. The farm grew eight acres of organic hops last year, next year it will farm 28 acres of organics, and this is in addition to the 350 acres of Salmon Safe hops they grow. The farm also hosted a visit by the Beer Blogger’s Conference 2011.

Laurelwood Brewmaster Vasili Gletsos
The evening started with a hop sensory experience lead by Brewmaster, Vasili Gletsos. Four varieties of hop pellets were given with an explanation from Gletsos on the aromatic qualities of the hop variety. The four varieties were Organic Cascade, Nugget and Mt. Hood, all Pacific NW grown and Northern Brewer from England. After examining the aroma of the four varieties, samples of four Laurelwood beers containing the hops were tasted. The beers were Hooligan Brown Ale, Free Range Red, and best I can remember, Gearhead IPA, and Mother Lode Golden Ale. The contest was trying to match the hop to the beer, not an easy task! Needless to say, I was not the winner. I did enjoy the experience. As someone who does not brew, I do not get many chances to play with hops.

Gwendolyn Wyard from OTA
Organic Trade Association's Gwendolyn Wyard and Gayle Goschie from Goschie Farms presented short presentations about the future of organic beers and agriculture. Wyard is a fermentation specialist and chemist. Her comments were particularly amusing, as she related all of human progress in agriculture and technology to the desire to obtain beer. I can get behind that. Goschie let the audience in on the decision of the farm to end sales to Anheuser Busch in favor of the smaller breweries. It was a nice evening, with a group of organic enthusiasts and good food and beer.