Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Keeping the Ball Rolling from #BBC11 : #BBC12 : Be There!

There's been a lot of talk about the location for #BBC12. So many fantastic blog posts have been written, and the energy just doesn't stop - the call for proposals for the 2012 Beer Blogger's Conference is up on the main website, and as an interested beer blogger, I'm asking you to do three things to make next year's conference a reality, and to keep the momentum from this conference going. Such a great sense of community has been built - I don't want to see that enthusiasm wane.

1) read a few of the blog posts about how #BBC11 changed people's perspectives on being a part of craft beer. Just go to twitter, and search for #BBC11. You'll see the energy.

2) take the time to weigh in on where you'd like the next conference to be. The venue for 2012 isn't set yet! The guidelines for the proposals can be found here. Let's get it over to the East Coast, or even more centrally located so that more people can join up! Have an idea for a great place to host it? Speak up! As someone excited about craft beer, I can't wait to go explore different communities, all around the United States. I'm also going to try and go to the one in Europe! I want to know what people are doing all over!

and finally,

3) I was so excited about this that I popped awake one night, and the next morning I asked Allan & Elle of Zephyr Adventures to please make a new "badge" for us to post on our blogs. I was so nervous that they would say no... But they said yes - and now we have a new badge that we can use as a visible flag for other bloggers, brewers, and people interested in supporting the craft beer industry. Please join the community in support of craft beer - we can make it better and bigger in 2012.If you click on the badge, it will take you to the image you can download and save.  Please place this on your blog, and retweet this post so others can find the information to keep passing along.

Link up! Show your support!

I'm passionate about craft beer. 

I know you are too. 

I hope to see you at the 2012 Beer Bloggers Conference.

Following the Bend Ale Trail : Guest Post by Chris @DrSci

I love the high desert of Oregon.  I have been out there every year since 1998….at least for a couple of days.  This year was no exception.  In the past, we have always made a point to get at least one lunch or one dinner at the Deschutes Bond Street pub.  

Once we got our reservations for a few nights at the Tumalo State Park I started thinking about visiting some of the other breweries that have sprung up in the Bend area.  I had met and talked with a few of the brewers at a Bend/Central Oregon beer event at Beermongers at the start of July.  I gathered a few business cards and put them some place safe at home.  Ya know that means I lost them.  :)

Two days before our trip I started looking around online and discovered the Bend Ale Trail….they even had and Android app for my phone.  I made a deal with my wife, Lyn.  I would buy all lunches and dinners along the trail for this trip and neither of us would need to cook back at camp.  Deal accepted!

We took off last Tuesday and arrived in Bend at around Noon.  After a quick stop at the Visitor Center for our Ale Trail passports, we were off.  

A quick caveat about the following comments – I only take time to describe the beers if there is something outstanding in one direction or the other.  I’m a fan of hoppy IPAs and of malty beers, not necessarily together.  I’m not a huge fan of lagers, blondes, kolschs, etc.  For such lighter things, my decision on whether I like it or not boils down to “would I drink this on a hot day?”  :)

First stop, Boneyard Brewing.  Getting there was a little convoluted from the visitor center, but we made it.  At this point our first stop for lunch was busted.  Boneyard has a small tasting room.  When I was there, they had 4 beers on tap (Black 13, Diablo Rojo, Hop Venom and the Cherry Wheat).  You could try two beers for free or normally pay $5 for one of each beer.  With only 4 on tap, the charge was down to $2 for the four beers.  Did I mention that Lyn doesn’t drink beer?  BONUS!  She asked for the Hop Venom and it was mine…all mine!  I’m a fan of Boneyard.  My first introduction to any of their beers was last year’s Nano Fest where they were serving Black 13, a nice, malty black ale.  We had our free samples and took off to find lunch.  I had two hungry teenagers waiting for me…almost patiently…almost.

For our next stop, we went to Silver Moon Brewing.  This was one of my favorite stops.  The food was cheap and good, I had no issues with any of the beers.  This taster tray was $9.  My favorites would have to be the Hop Fury IPA and the Hound’s Tooth Amber.  I even liked the lager and the cream ale, which is saying something for me.

Best of all, Lyn and the kids were now in a better mood with some food and time in an air conditioned room.  

The Hop Fury was my favorite new beer at the Beermonger’s event last month and it was still my favorite out of the tray.  Not overly bitter, some good aroma and a very nice flavor. 

Even the lighter beers were decent, going by my scale for such things.  

Next I consulted my Ale Trail app to see what was closest…  It turns out we were about 3 blocks away from the Deschutes Bond Street pub.

On we went, along the trail…

Normally, we would visit the Bend pub for a dinner, or a lunch, as I said before.  Anyone ever been there for dinner?  They have those annoying pagers that you have to carry around and stay close waiting for your signal that a table is waiting.  This was strategy.  It was close to the Silver Moon and it was still only about 2:30 in the afternoon.  No pagers!

We walked in and had a table within a minute.  I found Solace Rose, a very nice Flanders Brown that had been aged for more than 2 years.  Yum!  Even though they had all had enough in the way of root beer and such things, Lyn and the kids had a little dessert while I sat there in bliss.  This glass was only $4.25, though the desserts cost a heck of a lot more…

By the way, there is a lot of construction in front of the Bond Street pub.  It looks like they are expanding…

By this time, everyone was full.  But we were so close to the next stop on the trail!  The McMenamin’s Old St Francis School was just a few blocks away.  We waddled on and grabbed a quick seat inside the air-conditioned restaurant.  I just grabbed a pint of Triple Beam IPA and got our passports stamped.  Nothing remarkable.  It was an IPA, but it didn’t stand out.  I was under some pressure to get out by the family, so this was a quick pint.    Everybody was full and tired…  On to camp.  We unpacked, set up stuff and sat around recovering from our afternoon for a few hours.

That night we went to Bend Brewing for dinner.  Apologies ahead of time, if you are a fan.  I’m not.  The food was okay, though a bit pricey with a family of four.  I ordered the taster tray ($10) and got this impressive looking platter.  It looked better than it tasted.  I might have had a better impression if the lime wasn’t turning brown and the lemon wasn’t mushy.

After setting those aside, it didn’t get better.  Two of the lighter beers, I think it was the German pilsner and the golden ale both had a flavor reminiscent of vinegar.  The brown ale was okay, the Scotch ale was probably the best of the tray.  Even the IPAs didn’t do much for me.  Maybe I was just there on a bad day.  I might go back to try a pint the next time I’m in town, but I doubt it.  Not when I have better places to go.  That was the end of Day 1.  We had hit 5 breweries and I had sampled 22 beers.

 Day two started with us driving the 20 miles up to Sisters, OR.  There was “extra credit” on the Ale Trail for visiting the brewery in Sisters, Three Creeks Brewing.  They didn’t open until 11:30, so Lyn and the kids explored parts of Sisters while I wandered and waited.  We went in for some appetizers, with the plan of buying lunch back in Bend.  The flat bread with cheese dip was great, though the kids got to most of it while I was sipping my beers.  This taster tray was $10 and included their CDA, 8-second IBA on nitro.  That was a nice and smooth beer.  I really liked the Stonefly Rye and the Five Pine chocolate porter.  One of the lighter beers, I think it was the Knotty Blonde had that vinegar flavor to it again.  It must be a yeast byproduct.  It reminded me of some of the British ales I’ve had in the UK.  Other than that one beer, the others were great.  The IPA was nice, though the rye and the porter were the winners of this tray.  

We got our passports stamped, and it was back to Bend for lunch…

Next stop on the Trail, Cascade Lakes Brewing.   This taster tray was great.  All of $7, it included six 6oz tasters.  The food was great.  I had a great bacon & bleu cheese burger along with this tray.   Everything in this tray was decent.  My favorite was probably the Monkey Face porter, with the 20” Brown a close second.  The lighter beers were decent, by my scale.  If I wasn’t trying to hurry to get to the next place for a tour, I would have stayed to try the other 4 not included with a tray.

Next stop, the Deschutes Brewery.  I don’t know if I have ever gone on the tour and there wasn’t construction going on.  They are getting ready to add three to five 1300 barrel fermenters.  I forget which it was…

The best part about this was the free samples.  I mean, I’ve been on the tour a few times, but when you walk in, they give you 4 free samples.  In my case, this was 8 samples since Lyn doesn’t like beer.  Score!

I had tried everything on tap before, much to the surprise of the servers.  Besides the standard Mirror Pond, Inversion, Black Butte, Green Lakes, and Obsidian, they had Conflux #2, Stoic, Hop in the Dark on tap.  I had tried all of the special beers in Portland.  That didn’t stop me from trying them all again.  I wasn’t going to pass up two samples of the Stoic. 

The kids got free root beer.  By now they had to be getting sick of root beer!  I got a bunch of pics of the tour, but I’ll add those to the end for the people that want to see them.  I do want to acknowledge my saint of a wife.  She doesn’t like beer.  She can’t stand the smell of beer…to the point that when I brew, I’m at a friend’s house.  Lyn graciously put up with the tour and the tasting room.  If you’ve ever gone on a brewery tour, you know that you can’t avoid the smell of malt and hops.  I’m a very lucky guy!

Last stop on the Bend Ale Trail….10 Barrel Brewing.  We had gone back to camp and relaxed for a few hours.  We hit 10 Barrel at about 6.  Originally we were told it would be a 30 minute wait, but 2 minutes later we were seated.   This taster tray had ten beers for $10.  I liked all of the beers here, my favorite was a bourbon barrel ESB, which sounds a bit odd, but it was still good.  The food was good, though a bit expensive for a family of four.

If I could change one thing about this place, I would have liked a complete beer list to go with the tray.  Six of these were special or replacement beers to their regular lineup and having the list say “ask your server” as well as the chalkboard on the opposite wall….I think I had to pester our server at least 3 separate times.   My favorite here was the Daywalker, a Scottish ale.  Very nice.  I had tried a number of the 10 Barrel beers over the last year or so, but this was my first Daywalker.

Well, that was it.   Here is the completed passport.  For our trouble, we got two Beers of Bend books, along with a couple Ale Trail buttons as the “extra credit” for visiting Three Creeks in Sisters.

I tried 49 beers on the trail, a combination of pints, half-pints and tasters…mostly taster trays.  I spend way too much money….taking your entire family is not very cost effective.  No one went hungry…I’m trying not to think about my next Visa bill.  :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who Owns the Beer?

Who Owns the Beer?
Think your choice of drinking macro or craft beer doesn't matter? It does. This is a great visual to show you how much of the market in beer is owned by which companies. Large corporations.

Every choice you make to choose a local or craft beer makes a difference in your local economy.

courtesy Philip H Howard
The beer market is owned in huge part by macro beer companies who spend millions and millions of dollars promoting & marketing their beers. Craft breweries don't have the luxury of spending millions of dollars on marketing & ad campaigns. But people choose to drink craft beer over macros for a number of reasons - taste, supporting local, quality, wider range of choice, and COMMUNITY.

Whatever your reasons for choosing craft beer over macro, the #pdxbeergeeks thank you. If you're not convinced that craft beer is better, maybe give us an opportunity to help you explore some craft beers that are similar in flavor profile to your macros. At the very least, you can always support local when possible, and help the smaller breweries.

*thank you to Luke in Canada for sending this to me. See? We've even got honorary #pdxbeergeeks in other countries sharing info. Community, that's what it's all about. Community, and delicious beer. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Interview Series : Meet the Geeks : PDX Lance

Name: Lance Means

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Favorite Beer: How do I pick just one? Cascadian Dark Ale is my current favorite style. My favorite CDA would have to be Hopworks Secession. Laughing Dog Dogzilla, Fish Brewing Swordfish, Beer Here Dark Hops, and Oakshire O'Dark:30 are at the top of my list. Then there's the IPAs...

Favorite beer haunt: If I had to pick one it would have to be The Beer Mongers, Hopworks, and Horse Brass. If I could pick more than one I would add Roscoe's, Bailey's Taproom, Green Dragon, Saraveza, and APEX.

What was the first Craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Portland Ale from Portland Brewing in 1990. I remember thinking "WOW! That's what beer tastes like?" I had no idea that beer could be that good. I had been drinking Hamms, Budweiser, Miller, and whatever other swill I could get. Portland Ale saved my life that day.

Do you homebrew? I have yet to brew on my own equipment. I have made an IPA from extract and an all-grain imperial stout. The IPA was good, but the stout turned out great. I also have a couple batches of mead in the basement that I had to hide from myself so it could age. I just bought my own equipment and hope to break it in sometime in September 2011.  

How'd you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? Emily and Michael were talking about it on twitter.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? Loving the craft that goes into each beer. Being excited when a new brewery opens or an existing brewery starts making a new beer. Finding people on the other side of the country to trade beer with. Installing the Bend Ale Trail app on my phone so I can plan my route. Checking untappd to see what people are drinking before I order mine. Spending way too much time reading beer blogs but wishing there were more.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? I live in the Pacific Northwest. If you live on the East Coast, don't tell me my beer sucks and yours is the best. Most likely, if you have had any at all, you have had a very small sample of what's available here and, most likely, you liked it. Don't tell me your beer is better than mine. Show me. Send me a bottle. Or six.

What do you love about Portland's Craft Beer scene? I love the people. Portland's beer community is such a great group of people. Everyone is so nice. Where else will a complete stranger hand you their glass so you can try their beer?

Where can  we find you on the web?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Going Coastal! PDX Beer Week Thursday @ Bottles

This really is an amazing town to be in and be part of the craft beer scene. Not 5 minutes from my house, one of my favorite little bottle shops (aptly named Bottles) was hosting "Going Coastal," a part of PDX Beer Week. I'm not always able to get to all of the events that I want to, but I try to take every opportunity I can to head out into the world and see what I can find. This event was the only other one of PDX Beer Week that I had my heart set on going to, because Fort George Brewery was going to be there, and they are one of my very favorite breweries in Oregon. For the better part of the afternoon it looked as if I was out of luck, but an opportunity arose for me to zip up to Bottles for about 45 minutes, and I grabbed it!

These events are going on all over town, and are really spectacular for meeting new people, often the brewers themselves, and Ezra (author of New School Brew Blog and the founder of PDX Beer Week) does a great job resourcing breweries, curating events, and really packing a wide variety of experiences in for options!

I got to meet Jack Harris from Fort George Brewery (Vortex, people!)
I only had a little bit of time to run up and meet the brewers, say hi to friends & meet a few new people, but it was so exciting! I love that we have these opportunities to mix and mingle with our local brewers, and it is one of the highlights for me of living where I do, in Portland. I got a chance to sit down and talk to Fort George's Brewer, Jack Harris. (I may have told him about my newest aquisition to the strange items collection, a tiny dead bat, and used it as an intro to asking for the molting of Fort George's pet tarantula, Charlie {Charlotte} the next time she sheds... I know... I make a unique impression).  I had the Roscoe's Wild Rice IPA from Fort George, which was as delicious as Vortex, a touch softer on the front end, and pretty damn tasty. There's something kind of cool about sipping a beer with the brewer who made it.

Will of Pelican Pub & Brewery & yours truly
Will Crumpacker of Pelican Pub & Brewery was fun to talk to as well. The thing that gets me about being here is that these guys (and girls) in the craft beer industry are so dang happy to talk about beer - you can tell they love to share stories, ideas, and beer. Will had a whopping sampler of most of the Coastal beers, which he generously offered up to share, and I took him up on the offer to try, of course, the Pelican IPA. Mmmmm. Soft and subtle, Belgian yeast with mild spice. A lovely, balanced beer. Delicious.

FINALLY got to meet Ashley of BrewvanaPDX and saw Tim Ensign of Powered by Yeast
Nothing beats getting out into the community and making new friends over a pint of great beer. Although I only knew a few people there to begin, I got to do something tonight that, to me,  really epitomizes what being a beer geek is all about  - meet new great craft beer people, talk to the brewers about their craft, enjoy a fine beer, support my local craft beer scene (and economy) and be friendly. It's my dream job. Now, if I could just get paid to do it!

L - R Wakonda Brewery, Rusty Truck Brewing Co, Jack Harris of Fort George, Ashley of BrewvanaPDX, me, Tim Ensign of Powered by Yeast, Will from Pelican Pub & Brewery (front) Ezra Johnson-Greenough of New School Brew Blog & the Founder of PDX Beer Week  
Today (Sunday, August 28) is the closing day for PDX Beer Week! If you haven't had an opportunity to come out and enjoy any of the events that Ezra has coordinated, don't miss the final event, a street party in conjunction with the Hawthorne Street Fair - the #pdxbeergeeks crew will be set up at Bazi Bierbrasserie from 11 - 6 today, so COME ON OUT and say hi! You never know who you might run into, and what kind of new friends you'll make! Cheers!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

#BBC11 Recap : The Collective Unconscious : A Beer Bloggers Perspective

gorgeous hops from Goschie Hops Farm
Good morning, all... This post was originally posted in my blog at pdxhomelife... because it's the weekend, and Michael and I are off exploring our local craft beer scene, I post it here for a little Saturday enjoyment. If you're in town, head on over and see us tomorrow from 11 am - 6 pm at the Hawthorne Street Fair. Celebrating the closing of our pal Ezra Johnson-Greenhough's wildly successful inaugural PDX Beer Week, there will be a plethora of activities, food, and BEER! We'll have our tees & stickers for sale right outside Bazi BierBrasserie!

I've been mulling it over in my head, distilling the information and experiences imparted at the Beer Bloggers Conference last weekend in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Picking blackberries in the garden, I've been reviewing conversations. At night I lay my head on my pillow and dream about bottles of beer in baskets, beer that traveled, waiting to be shared. I reflect on walking into Bailey's Tap Room Sunday evening and seeing a sea of now familiar faces, all smiling. And as I go about my daily life these last few days, working, folding laundry, feeding dogs, I think about the 100 people gathered at the DoubleTree Hotel near Lloyd Center, and how we turned a shared love of craft beer into something further reaching than the fabric paneled walls of the conference rooms.

delicious beer from Lompoc

The most difficult thing so far has been synthesizing four days of pub crawls, beer tastings, panel discussions, making new friends, marketing our new group, and listening to challenges in other states' struggles to just bring good beer to the people. I've been watching the Twitter feed for #BBC11, acutely aware that there are a ton of blog posts springing up around the internet, opinions and reports on the conference, factual and anecdotal... and while every fiber of my squirrelly little connective being wants to click through and read every word from every new friend I've made, I can't yet. Because as E.M. Forster pondered, "How can I know what I think till I see what I say?"

Widmer's Pilot Brewery

On the surface, the conference was likely the most productive, eye opening, and collaborative event I've ever been to. I've been to fun conferences. I've been to informative conferences. I've been to skill building, contact making conferences. But I have never in my professional career been to a conference that was as fun, thought provoking, and idea spawning as this.

I'm sure that if anyone truly wanted a blow by blow account of the entire conference, there must be bloggers who were conscientiously typing away as the sessions progressed. Surely lengthy accounts of each panel exist: winding and detailed discourses on the pros and cons and each speakers' merit. I can't (and won't) begin to retell the stories, set up the laughs, or open the vast stores of information. In a nut shell, those 100 people or so, including local brewers, bloggers from near and far, distributors, advocates, and journalists sat together, sharing experiences, listening to advice and ideas from one another, and gaining a clearer understanding of where the craft beer industry is headed.

The answer is up.

John & Fred
Ezra, Lisa & Jeff

What a tremendous showing from our local brewers; Widmer Bros, Oakshire Brewing, Bridgeport, Ninkasi, Double Mountain, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Breakside Brewery, Rogue, and Full Sail were joined by Blue Moon & Karl Strauss representatives,  Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, New Planet, and more. Craft beer legend Fred Eckhardt waxed philosophically with veteran beer journalist John Foyston, recalling craft beer's rebirth in Portland and along the West Coast... Craig Hendry from Mississippi's Raise Your Pints enlightened us to the sad state of affairs in Mississippi, where access to craft beer is extremely limited (and education about craft beer and what it entails is even more limited).

Stephen & Erica of Brooklyn Brew Shop

A policy analyst from Washington DC, Michelle Minton from The Competitive Enterprise Institute cautioned us about laws that threatened small breweries and our access to craft brew. Julia Herz from CraftBeer spoke about the industry of craft beer, Jeff Alworth, Lisa Morrison, Jay Wilson and Ezra Johnson-Greenhough talked about their experiences in craft beer... Erica and Stephen of the Brooklyn Brew Shop talked about their one gallon beer making kits - an idea that is bringing the experience of homebrewing to folks all over the country, who otherwise might be too overwhelmed to try it.  One panel spoke about critiques of craft beer. Some members of the audience suggested that it wasn't really great to criticize - but I kept thinking about the way in which we are so spoiled by our brewers in Portland. As a lover of craft beer, I would never hesitate to diplomatically express my thoughts about a beer, whether I liked it or not - the brewers around here know better than to get their feelings hurt when someone says they don't like a beer - and some of them welcome those comments and interactions with us as a way to further hone their craft.

Matt Van Wyk of Oakshire, a favorite beer & brewer

Over and over again the support for one another, for the industry, and the general joviality was the thing that caught my attention.  While sitting on the bus towards the Bridgeport sponsored dinner, my seat mate from Growler Fills in Montana remarked to me that he was astounded at the way in which Portland/Oregon Craft Beer people came together. Our brewers, he stated, were entirely unlike those in his state - and indeed, our brewers are a remarkable bunch. They joined us on buses, pouring samples from their collections of beer... chatting with us about their love of brewing, their thoughts and inspirations for those beers, and in general, being friendly. I met so many fantastically creative, supportive and wonderful people at the conference. I met Ales from the Crypt, Red White & Brew, and Road Trips for Beer -  friends of friends across the country... We saw The Love of Beer at the Bagdad Theater, an enlightening documentary about the women of craft beer, and their hand in changing times. There was so much to take in, I had a hard time each evening getting my brain to settle down so I could go to sleep... and each morning there was more. 

Jamie Floyd of Ninkasi & me
Perhaps the most significant experience for me was the evening of the hops farm dinner. Jamie Floyd, the brewer from Ninkasi, sat just ahead of me across the aisle on the bus to the Goschie Hops Farm. While we crawled along I-5 South in Friday afternoon rush hour traffic, I tapped Jamie on the shoulder and told him that my reintroduction to craft beer, the very path that I was on at that very minute was entirely due to his beer, specifically, Tricerahops. I recalled the day I discovered Tricerahops locally, and how it forever changed the way I thought about beer, about four years ago. "That makes my day," he said, giving me a high five. It made me so happy to be able to thank the person responsible for such a large part of my inspiration and creative expression. I never imagined that I would be a part of something so fun. And while there are benefits like supporting the local economy, the truth is that the community of beer is a huge part of who I am today, and my relationships with several key people in my life have been due to my love of craft beer.

my hug from Ginger Johnson
As I sat beneath the oak trees on the sprawling property, flakes of hops cones swirling in the air, a sprig of hops tucked in my hair, and a hug from Ginger Johnson from Women Enjoying Beer, it hit me. Amidst the laughter, I watched people of varying expertise, position, and time in the industry visit with each other and get excited. I saw friendships forged, interest ignite, and excitement grow. As people gathered around the bottles and poured pints from the taps, it occurred to me on a much deeper level. I began to feel a stirring that I knew was there, waiting to leap. Beer is so much more than a drink. It's more than a hobby. It's more than a vocation. It calls to some, heralding a connection to our collective history; it's what our ancient civilizations thrived on, grew from, and were inspired by.

Canopy of Trees
There, among those strangers who had become friends, I knew. That sense of connectivity is imbued in everyone who identifies with craft beer; like the collective unconscious, beer is our roots... and craft beer people are my tribe.

Friday, August 26, 2011

O Canada! A request from our neighbors up North!

I received a request in my inbox that left me a little giddy. Because what do I love as much as craft beer? Helping people. And the best combination of all? Helping people find *good* craft beer. What's even better than that? When people from out of town ask me to help them with places right here in my little hometown of Portland, Oregon.
I'm a #pdxbeergeek who's wild about Portland, Oregon.
Now you might wonder: Why am I so nutty about Portland? I've lived here solidly 33 of my 34 years (save a blip on the screen when I headed South to Ashland for a year), all within a 10 mile radius of where I was born. My children are 5th generation NE PDX residents. My great grandfather was an original ferryman before the bridges were built on the Willamette River (for those wondering, it was the Morrison Bridge that came first, completed in 1887), and he was a trolleyman after that, running the streetcars. My roots are deep and wide ranging, and I love nothing more than sharing my fair city with visitors and transplants.
Welcome to the City of Roses!
Now, we all know that Portland is host to a veritable buffet of craft beer locations. Breweries, brew pubs, restaurants, bars, taverns... Hell, even our grocery stores carry great craft beer. But what are the top picks for natives and visitors alike when it comes to the overall experience of our craft beer culture?

I don't take this request lightly. I've been pondering several days, thinking about the most welcoming, iconic, and classic craft beer locations to suggest in response to the inquiry... And combined with the feedback of a few attendees of the recent PDX hosted Beer Bloggers Conference (#BBC11 on the Twitters if you want to play along), I've come up with a list. In addition to the craft beer request, I've also been asked for suggestions for the best coffee places, and I'm throwing in some don't miss breakfasts as well, in the hopes that this will supply an ample selection without being too overwhelming for our guests next week.
we need coffee! STAT!
The challenge: Craft beer and coffee shop selections which represent the best of our fair city, while offering forays into the neighborhoods of Portland
Transportation restrictions: No car. By foot and public transit preferable. Cab if necessary.
Timeline: One week to explore; mornings for coffee, evenings for craft beer
Base Camp: A centrally located downtown hotel
Beware: This next little section is extra nerdy.
As many natives and residents will tell you, Portland is easily navigable by remembering that there are 5 quadrants (yes, I know, a quadrant is 4, but just roll with it) and those quadrants are divided by the Willamette (Will. AM. It) River (running North to South, the river separates EAST Portland from WEST Portland) and Burnside Street (running East to West, Burnside separates NORTH Portland from SOUTH Portland).

For the sake of simplicity, numbers and addresses run away from the center of the point where Burnside and the Willamette River meet. Generally. So if you're looking for something at 4500 block of NE 33rd Street, you know it's generally going to be in the NE quadrant, about 45 blocks NORTH of Burnside. Easy. This works fantastically in NE & SE Portland, it gets a little hairy in North Portland (the 5th Quadrant, just North and slightly West of NE), brilliantly in DOWNTOWN/CLOSE in NW/SW Portland and a little less so up through the West hills.

/ end of super nerdy geek-out /

However, with little divergence from the walkable locations, we ought to be able to give our visitors a good sampling for the feel of Portland with some fun places to visit.

mmmm. beeeeer.
Disclaimer: Before any of you die hard #pdxbeergeeks or craft beer fans chastise me for leaving things off the list, let me say this: I KNOW this is not a comprehensive list. I do. As in any city, some of the best stuff is further out from the city center. But I tried to do a good job of picking some of the most diverse offerings we have here, and still make it doable for out of towners. That being said, feel free to comment below in the best #pdxbeergeeks manner if you think there are things that people absolutely should not miss. And please remember to leave the address for our fair visitors.

View @pdxbeergeeks : Coffee & Craft Beer in a larger map

Highlights on the #pdxbeergeeks : Coffee & Craft Beer Map include: 
food cart pods
coffee shops
Powell's Books
ice cream, pie & donut shops
craft beer 
Portland Saturday Market

To all attending the conference... 
Welcome to Portland, Oregon 

Just give a holler to the #pdxbeergeeks on the twitters if you get lost. We're in large supply, and frequently lurking in these very spots... always ready point you in the right direction towards craft beer!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Roscoes for Sushi : Beer Musings with Kris!

Kris tackled Roscoe's Sushi & Beer Pairing!
Do you ever wonder about beer & food pairings around our fair city? 
Kris sent us this link to her blog and says: "I did it. Finally. On a Monday night no less. That’s right, I’m no longer a Roscoe’s virgin.
What pushed me over the edge? What temptation was it I could no longer resist? Sushi. Not just any sushi, but sushi paired with the bittered nectar of the gods, beer."
Intrigued? Visit Kris's blog, Beer Musings with Kris for the full details!
81st &  SE Stark
Portland, OR 97215

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interview Series : Meet the Geeks : Kris & Mag McDowell

Kris & Mag
Names: Kris & Mag McDowell

Hometown: St. Paul, MN

Favorite Beer: Kris – Naming a single favorite beer is next to impossible for me. It depends on the day, the setting, my mood, but in general I gravitate towards IPAs.
Mag – I mostly agree, but I think Surly Brewing’s Furious is my current favorite.

Favorite Beer Haunt: Portland has so many great beer haunts but a couple that rise toward the top of the list are The Beermongers and Coalition Brewing. Those are two places where the beer is great and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Kris – Although I don’t believe I’d call it a craft brew, my “gateway” beer into this delicious world was Newcastle. At the time it was the darkest beer I’d ever had and was possibly the first beer I’d actually enjoyed. Mag – I believe the first craft beer I tried was an Alaskan Amber. After that, my eyes had been opened to a whole new world of beer.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: We have homebrewed in the past but it has been years since our last batch. Our equipment did however make the cut during the big downsizing that occurred before we moved to Portland in 2010.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? First through the Twitterverse and then finally meeting in person.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? Kris - It means being connected to my local beer community, being interested in what is available, looking forward to the next new beer or beer event and being able to appreciate beers even if I can’t say I like them.
Mag – Being a beer geek means taking beer pilgrimages to places like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc. in place of more traditional vacations. Being a beer geek is typified by having a diverse and unusual group of friends brought together by the unifying love of beer.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? Kris - The demonization of drinking, especially the drinking of the “low class” beer, as opposed to the “refinement” of wine drinkers.
Mag – I agree with Kris, but I also loathe efforts to make beer/craft beer trendy, sophisticated, marketable to the masses, etc. Yeah, I know, it’s a consumer product business and a growing industry that’s attracting a lot of attention, but damnit, keep your Madison Ave-Beiberization away from my farty fizz-water.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? Kris - What I love is also what I hate: the vast number of events, beers and great places to drink. There’s so many I don’t have time to fit them all in. Mag – I love how ingrained craft beer and the craft beer scene has become in Portland’s culture.

Where can we find you on the web?
on our blog, Bittered Units/Beer Musings
and on Twitter: Kris and Mag

Monday, August 22, 2011

Washington Takeover @ Bailey's Taproom

Our host.

mmm, technology


Micah from Big Al Brewing

Charles up to Shenanigans

Don Webb from Naked City Brewery

Old friends, new friends, shenanigans, and technology. All for the love of craft beer. Bailey's opened for a rare Sunday event. Several leftovers from #BBC11, and fun to be had by all. My favorite beer was Rosemary's Baby from Elysian. An IPA with rosemary. Made me dream of home cooked meals.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

One Month & Many Thanks

It’s been exactly one month since @emilyengdahl and I brainstormed this group. What an amazing month it’s been. We are currently at 60+ followers on Facebook and around 90 followers on the Twitters. Within this time we have survived craft beer month, had a few impromptu meet ups, and still have a scheduled meet up for August 28th. We have shirts, stickers, a banner, and The level of interactivity between members never ceases to amaze me. It feels almost like a tight knit family all sharing a common love of beer. I would just like to thank each and everyone of you. We couldn't have done this with out you and your support. I’m looking forward to the next eleven months, and am hoping to have something fabulous planned for the one year mark.


Hops Farm Dinner

this was lovely. so many nice people, delicious dinner, and it smelled heavenly in amongst the vines of hops being run thru the machines. I love it there. I might want to be a hops farmer when I grow up.

Friday, August 19, 2011

In order of evening: Widmer Pilot Brewery : Deschutes Street Fair : Life of Riley : walk thru the Pearl to Lucky Lab : Saw the Crafts (so adorable, these two): Lompoc : Elle's prime real estate booty advertising #pdxbeergeeks : School bus to hotel : left the others to enjoy the art of the human form #pdx style : driving tour in the dark to drop off peeps safely. *the end of the beginning*

Back for more fun and games in the afternoon.