Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hops Brownies for the #pdxbeergeeks meetup!

I've been wanting to make hops infused brownies for some time now - reminiscing about the brownies we had at Gayle Goschie's Hops farm last summer during the BBC dinner... But I couldn't ever find the recipe. So I decided to make one up.

I'm a cheater on recipes - I wasn't going to make them from scratch. So I got the Ghiradelli brownie mix out, followed the recipe exactly in quantities, but made two changes to bring the hoppiness into play. One, I substituted the newest Widmer Spiced IPA for water, and secondly, I infused the oil with hops pellets (I had 12.4% AA Nelson Sauvin on hand). The first batch I used WAY too much hops. Like WAYYYYYY too much. It was terrible.

The second batch, (a double batch) I used 1/3 the amount of pelletized hops - 1 tsp. And this time? Yum.


Depending on your brownie mix, prepare as instructed, substituting out water for beer of your choice.

In the oil, measure out 1/2 tsp per batch of brownies - dump directly into the oil, and heat in the microwave for 30 - 45 seconds until warm. Stir the oil and hops around, then strain the oil through a fine mesh filter (I used our gold cone coffee filter).

Continue on - add the brownie mix, hops-infused oil, beer, eggs together and bake as instructed.

For the frosting, I used regular old Betty Crocker, then sprinkled the powdered hops on top.

Delish! They turn out with a lovely floral aroma from the hops - slightly chompy at the back, but really mild. To up the ante just a little bit, I ground up about 1 tsp pellets and sprinkled them on the top of the frosted brownies like you would powdered sugar. I like to use a fine mesh tea strainer spoon to do that. It works like a charm!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sierra Nevada Chooses Asheville-Area for Eastern Brewery Expansion

CHICO, Calif. -  Jan. 25, 2012 - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is pleased to announce that it has
chosen a site in western North Carolina for the future home of an East Coast brewery. The site, approximately 90 acres in the Henderson County town of Mills River - along the French Broad River, 12 miles south of Asheville - will be home to the new production facility, as well as a proposed restaurant and gift shop.

"We are thrilled to have found an ideal location in western North Carolina for our second brewery," says Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada. "The beer culture, water quality and quality of life are excellent. We feel lucky to be a part of this community."

The new facility will add much needed capacity for Sierra Nevada, and will allow for the quick shipment of brewery-fresh beer to consumers in the east. The East Coast brewery will start with a capacity around 300,000 barrels, with room to grow. The added barrelage will accommodate wider production of the myriad of seasonal beers and bottled specialties Sierra Nevada has produced in recent years, as well as an expansion of the brewery's well-known flagship product: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Sierra Nevada began the search for a new location several years ago. The brewery looked at hundreds of potential sites, eventually narrowing the search down to a handful of locations. The list of criteria was long and included quantifiable factors such as ease of shipping and water quality, as well as quality of life issues for its employees. Sierra Nevada has a reputation for a laid-back brewery culture and a love of the outdoors, and the new facility will retain this same tone. The Asheville area offers Sierra Nevada Brewing the perfect confluence of community, recreation and craft beer culture.

Sierra Nevada's eastern brewery site is expected to employ approximately 90 workers, with additional staff in the restaurant to follow. The brewery anticipates being operational by early 2014.

About Sierra Nevada
Founded in 1980, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is one of America's premier craft breweries, highly regarded for using only whole-cone hops and ingredients of the finest quality. Sierra Nevada has set the standard for artisan brewers worldwide as a winner of numerous awards for its extensive line of beers including the flagship Pale Ale, Torpedo, Porter, Stout, Kellerweis, four seasonal beers, Estate Ale, Harvest Ales, Ovila Abbey Ales and a host of draught-only specialties. 

** Thanks to Bill Manley for this great update! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Interview Series: Meet the Geek: Ashley V Routson, aka The Beer Wench

The Beer Wench aka Ashley V Routson
Name: Ashley V Routson

I am a gypsy by nature, so my “hometown” changes frequently. At the moment, I live in Berkeley, CA.

Favorite Beer:
This is quite possibly the most challenging question for a beer geek. I almost always say Orval, when asked this question -- although, another common answer would be “the beer in my glass” (easiest cop-out ever).

When I interviewed Adam Avery, I asked him this same question. He said something to the extent of “My favorite beer is my beer, and any brewer who says otherwise, should probably start brewing others' beers.” In the same spirit, I would have to say the Bison Brewing’s Saison de Wench is my favorite beer of the moment, because she is my pride and joy.

Favorite Beer Haunt:
I have moved over a dozen times and traveled to several states in the past 4 years so, needless to say, I have many a favorite beer haunt in many cities. If I could only visit one bar in each of the following cities, these places top my list (based on past experiences):
  • New York, NY: Blind Tiger
  • Chicago, IL: Delilah’s
  • Columbus, OH: Bodega
  • Cleveland, OH: Buckeye Beer Engine
  • Grand Rapids, MI: Hopcat
  • Milwaukee, WI: Sugar Maple
  • Orlando, FL: Red Light, Red Light
  • New Orleans, LA: Snake & Jakes (okay, not a beer bar AT ALL... but one of the best dive bars on this planet)
  • Austin, TX: The Draught House
  • Denver, CO: Falling Rock
  • Los Angeles, CA: Blue Palms Brew House
  • San Diego, CA: Churchill’s
  • San Francisco, CA: Toronado
  • Oakland, CA: Beer Revolution
  • Portland, OR: Horse Brass
  • Seattle, WA: Brouwer’s Cafe

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Well, I suppose it depends. Technically, my first craft beer was probably Sam Adams Boston Lager, since that was the beer my mother drank when I was a kid. But my memory of it isn’t really strong, so I don’t think it counts.

I grew up near the Catskill mountains in New York State. We were a very active family, and loved to go hiking at Minnewaska State Park and Mohonk Mountain. After a long day of hiking in the summer sun, my mother and father used to reward themselves by hitting up a local brewpub called The Gilded Otter. They would let my sister and I sip on the beers that they got. The one that always stood out the most was a lager brewed with fresh blue berries. It was very cloudy and natural lavender in color with real blueberry pulp and skin floating in the beer.

As far as beer epiphanies go, I often site Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch and Bell’s Two-Hearted as the two turning point beers that turned me into a craft beer drinker. As a wine geek, Midas Touch really hit home. It was like a tawny port, but still a beer. Absolutely mind blowing. And Two-Hearted was my very first IPA... and a girl never forgets her first IPA.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date:
I am kind of lame because I’ve never actually finished my own homebrew batch, from start to finish. I love helping my friends homebrew, but I travel, work and play way too much to be a serious homebrewer. That, and I work in the industry, which means I get to play “big kid brewer” from time to time. Best beer I’ve brewed to date is Saison de Wench, a Belgian farmhouse brewed with botanicals.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks?
Learned about the rockstar crew from pdxbeergeeks just before the 2011 Beer Bloggers Conference in Portland! The lovely Emily has become of of my greatest confidants and friends since!!!

What does being a beer geek mean to you?
Being a beer geek means not being a beer snob. It means being an evangelist, constantly spreading the good word about craft beer -- and not being an arrogant douchebag who makes craft beer an exclusive, members- only club that is intimidating and inapproachable. It's about loving beer, and the people who make it.

Craft beer is my life. It is my work, it is my play, it is my love. Without it, I would cease to exist.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be?
Honestly? I would put an end to douchbaggery. I mean, I wish more people would drink craft beer, we all do. But at least the ignorant people swilling down mass-produced, yellow fizzy corporate lagers aren’t as bad as the craft beer douchbags. Honestly, I view them as cancer cells in our industry. In scarcity, they can be targeted and eliminated. But in clusters, they can do some serious damage. There is just no room in this industry for negativity, especially from the arrogant and uneducated. I view these douchebags as cancerous cells. We need to eliminate them before they become a cluster and do serious damage.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene?
  Where do I begin? My only love sprung from my only hate. Only six months ago, I found myself purchasing two voodoo dolls in preparation for my first trip to Portland. One was called The Gladiator, to give me strength to fight, and the other was the Equalizer, to avenge the wrong against me. Needless to say, I hated Portland even before I had ever visited.

Upon visiting, I quickly realized that it would be impossible to hate it, but I never once thought that I would fall in love with it. So much so, that I dream about living there.

I love Portland’s passion, although be it quirky, awkward and slightly delusional at times. I love its people. I love its beer. I love its food. And because of Portland, I finally know what it’s like to truly love another human, and be loved in return.

Weather sucks, but hey, there are worse things in life than rain.

Where can we find you on the web?

Drink With The Wench
Beer Mixology

Sunday, January 22, 2012

McMenamin's Hammerhead 26th Birthday!

Hammerhead tap at McMenamin's
This Wednesday, January 25, 2012, McMenamin's will be celebrating Hammerhead Ale's 26th B'day ($2.50 pints all locations, all day) Here is the current list of special Hammers/locations pouring that day:

Old St. Francis:  Dry-hopped Firkin (Cask) Hammerhead (O'kanes: 'Curly's Firkin' Special Release)
High Street:  Cask-style Hammerhog (whiskey-oak aged Hammerhead) poured via beer engine.
Roadhouse Bar:  Cask-style Hammerhog (whiskey-oak aged Hammerhead) served from bar top.
Imbrie Hall:  Bar Top Cask-style dry-hopped Hammerhead
White Shed:  Dry-hopped Hammerhead
McMenamins on Broadway: Dry-hopped Hammerhead
Rock Creek:   Dry-hopped Hammerhead
Wilsonville:  Oak-aged Hammerhead (medium toasted oak spiral. The beer has hints of vanilla and caramel)

As an artist and lifetime resident of Portland, one of the things I appreciate the most about McMenamin's is the way in which the old buildings are brought back to life. The art is rooted into breathing new energy into spaces previously abandoned or forgotten about. While the artists for McMenamin's are notoriously gifted, the way in which their talent pairs with an Arts & Crafts / Art Nouveau sensibility of ornamentation within functionality brings a decidedly green and Pacific Northwest flavor to the family of breweries. Indeed, McMenamin's was a trailblazer in "brew pub as art" style of interior design - a creative way of thinking that is often not attributed as well as it should be. As described on the company's own website, "Originally, the artwork served a practical purpose -- as Mike McMenamin puts it, 'We had good-sized walls to cover.' But over the course of twenty-plus years, the art evolved into an expression of the building's history, the company's mission and of McMenamins itself."

This sketch is from February 1st, 1992 by Lyle Hehn
The logos and caricatures for the beers themselves are no exception! As Lyle Hehn, an artist with McMenamin's since 1988 describes,  "After the usual false starts and frustrated erasures, the local radio station began to play some rousing music, and it all fell together. The ideas popped in one after another and I couldn't draw it fast enough. An unusually large amount of the sketch survived into the final version.

The idea of a character with a hammer for a head is hardly original, but the beer had already received a name that practically demanded some kind of bold, expansive and yet deliberately ridiculous image."

McMenamin's features information about their artists on their blog, describing the introduction of the artist who created the Hammerhead logo into the McMenamin's family. "In 1980, Hehn graduated from Linfield College with a bachelor's degree in art. Since 1988, Hehn has been employed by McMenamins. His brother Paul was one of the company's managers, and Hehn was hired to paint a sign on a door at the Fulton Pub. Other McMenamins projects gradually followed. At first he did just decorative wall painting in the pubs, but as the company expanded, Hehn also began to design logos and labels and signs for their various locations, along with murals and illustrations."

McMenamin's has given new life to many buildings in Oregon who would have otherwise fallen to ruin. While the tater tots at all the facilities are delicious (and the Sunday breakfasts at Edgefield's Black Rabbit Restaurant are one of Portland's best kept secrets), a big part of the joy I feel at visiting these buildings comes from the integral research and honoring of history that is imbued in everything McMenamin's does. 

Hammerhead's birthday is a perfect time to experience McMenamin's anew. Visit one of the twenty four facilities around the Portland-Metro and surrounding areas for a pint - and take a moment to admire the details with which these buildings are lovingly adorned.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Widmer Rotator Release: W'12 & Spiced IPA

shiny fermenting tanks at Widmer Brothers Brewing
Thursday night, as the rain began to beat a little less furiously on the pavement of Portland, I strolled into the Widmer Brothers Brewery with fellow writer Jeff Alworth. Warmly greeted at the entrance, we joined a group of about 20 Portland beer bloggers and assorted writers gathered in the fermentation room. Amidst the reflective glow of the shining fermenting tanks (at least three stories tall), Rob Widmer spoke to us about the beginning of Widmer, detailing the brothers' adventure early on and how they got the yeast strain for their flagship Alt beer.

Joe Casey (L) and Rob Widmer (C)
Swirling the caramel, malty smooth Altbier in my glass, I marveled at the amount of camaraderie in the room. Familiar faces, and many friends (including my #pdxbeergeeks co-founder, Michael) were in attendance. We gathered, facing the arched brick cathedral style windows, and Rob described the new release beers we would be drinking.

Moving on to the W'12, the seventh installation in the Brewmaster's Release, we learned about the departure from previous year's styles in this "Brewers gone wild" opportunity.  Fred Eckhardt, a Portland legend, stood off to my right. John Foyston of the Oregonian, camera at the ready, moved within the crowd, and Angelo of Brewpublic recorded brewer Joe Casey as he spoke about W'12, a dark Saison, and Spiced IPA, the newest installation in the Rotator series.

The Gentlemen: Fred Eckhardt, Bill, Angelo, & John
The W'12, inspired by farmhouse ales, is a moderately caramel beer, with aromatic notes of Belgian-esque spices, and a slightly tart top note. I like this beer, and had enjoyed the sample sent by Widmer with a black bean burger and some sweet potato fries. The W'12 is a clean, fresh, beer - at only 5.5% it provides a quaffable solution for multiple food pairings.  Some points of discussion among myself, Brian Yaeger, and Jeff were that there was an expectation of more dark malt characteristic - but despite the light end of the beer, this is one I'd be happy to stock in my fridge.

W'12 Dark Saison
"We're excited to release Dark Saison," said Ben Dobler, a Widmer Brothers brewer. "Often thought to be an endangered style, saisons are in the midst of a resurgence and we're happy to share this smooth, malty interpretation. It's the perfect beer to commence a meal or for those who simply prefer a smoother beer without lingering bitterness." It makes a nice entry point for the mainstream market as well, creating an easy drinker for people who may not be fans of Farmhouse or Belgians - this is one I would heartily recommend as a gateway beer to those styles. The Brewmasters' Release series is just one example of the way in which creativity and collaboration within the brewery bring interesting beers to the consumer. Each of the Brewmasters' Release beers are unique interpretations of styles that might not otherwise make it to the recreational consumer - one reason I sincerely appreciate Widmer's lasting dedication as a hometown craft brewery. 

Rotator Series: Spiced IPA
Passing around a glass full of the dry tea blend used in the Spiced IPA, Joe described the process by which the collaboration between Widmer and the San Diego Homebrew Club came to be. Inhaling deeply, the tea blend includes Malty Assam Black Tea, Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove, Star Anise, Black Pepper, and Cardamom. While the tea blend itself is deeply pungent and reminiscent of a warm spice market, the resulting beer is delicately aromatic; peppery and piquant. Lively carbonation brightens the tea notes, creating a whisper of chai in the mouth.

The Rotator Series is the expression of experimentation and opportunity for homebrewers to create a beer with Widmer. Originating from Paul Sangster's recipe, and further developed with Chris Stawney of San Diego's QUAFF (Quality Ale and Fermentation Fraternity),  Beginning with X-114, Falconer's and just finishing, O'Ryely, these IPAs are limited quantities, allowing Widmer to share as many IPA recipes as possible on a constantly changing basis.  "In many ways, Paul Sangster's recipe embodies what Widmer Brothers beers are all about: unique interpretations of classic beer styles," said Joe Casey.

Many thanks to Widmer Brothers for including #pdxbeergeeks on their invitation list to this delightful preview of W'12 and Spiced IPA. If you're looking for interesting new beers to try, give these a shot. You won't be disappointed!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Totchos at Oaks Bottom! and TGIF!

TGIF! We're ready to sit back and have a pint - care to join us?

Today at Sidebar, we'll be serving Port Barrel Aged Brewdolph, a Belgian style red ale aged in Maryhill Winery Port barrels for a year then cellared for another year; C-Note Imperial Pale Ale; Sounder Slayer, a bright golden, highly drinkable crisp lager that abounds with spicy hop bitterness and smooth Pilsner malt flavor; Condor Pale Ale; Black Dawn El Salvador, a rich, full bodied stout featuring strong roast and dark chocolate notes that play nicely with the dominating coffee presence, courtesy of more than three pounds of El Salvadoran coffee per barrel; and Arctic Blast, a NW winter warmer that pours a dark ruby hue and features chewy caramel malt and hints of chocolate that are balanced by a generous dose of English Golding hops. Sidebar is closed for a private party on Saturday, Jan. 21 but this same menu will pour on Sunday, Jan. 22.

Lompoc fans on the west side of town, join brewer Bryan Keilty tomorrow, Jan. 21, at Uptown Market, a new specialty brew store located at 6620 SW Scholls Ferry Rd. in Beaverton. Bryan will be there from 3 to 6 pm pouring samples of LSD, Cherry Christmas, Black Dawn III, and Arctic Blast. Uptown Market features a large selection of domestic and imported brews, plus two running taps at all times. They also offer growler sales, kegs to go, and all the fixings for making your own brew.
TotchosAre you a fan of our Totchos? Do you consider yourself a bit of an adverturer when it comes to food? Then you're going to love "Totchos of the World" at the Oaks Bottom Public House! For six weeks, beginning Monday, January 23, and continuing every Monday for five weeks after that, we'll feature a new culinary Totcho treat from a different country. Order that week's Totcho (Monday thru Sunday) and get a passport. We'll stamp your passport for every country's flavor you try. Collect all six stamps, and you'll receive a free order of our regular Totchos and a Lompoc pint! Never heard of Totchos? Our traditional version is a heaping plate of tater tots smothered with cheddar & jack cheese, tomatoes, jalapeños, black olives and onion, topped with sour cream and salsa. Totchos of the World will deliver totcho-riffic variations from Italy, Cuba, Jamaica, India, Peru & Spain.

Oaks Bottom Public House Presents "Totchos of the World"

PORTLAND, Ore. - Jan. 20, 2012 - The Oaks Bottom Public House, a Lompoc pub in the Westmoreland neighborhood of SE Portland, has long been recognized as the place in the city to order Totchos - nachos made with tater tots instead of tortilla chips. Starting Monday, January 23, Oaks Bottom will present "Totchos of the World," a six-week culinary journey exploring the crispy, crunchy snack.

Oaks Bottom traditionally serves a Tex Mex version of Totchos in a volcanic mound of piping-hot tater tots covered with cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, olives and onions, and topped with sour cream and a crater full of salsa.

Every Monday, from Jan. 23 to Feb. 27, Oaks Bottom will feature a new culinary Totcho treat from a different country on its menu. Executive chef Mike Parmenter has come up with Totcho recipes inspired by cuisine from Italy, Cuba, Jamaica, India, Peru and Spain. The flavor of the week will be available Monday through Sunday for the six-week period. 

The first week's order comes with a passport. The pub will stamp your passport for every country's flavor you try. Patrons who collect all six stamps will receive a free large order of regular Totchos and a pint of Lompoc beer.

Oaks Bottom is located at 1621 SE Bybee Blvd. For more information, visit or call 503-232-1728

** thanks to Chris Crabb for this update from Lompoc! **

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Interview Series: Meet the Geeks: Morgan Miller of Ninkasi

Name: Morgan Miller

Hometown: Portland

Favorite Beer: So many, maybe Saison Dupont if I had to pick one. Current fave is BFM Abbeye du Bon Chien.

Favorite Beer Haunt: depends on which city I’m in. In Portland, probably Saraveza.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? Can’t remember, Anchor Steam, Coopers Ale or Cartwright (PDX’s first craft brewery)

What did you think? MORE!

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: Nah.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? In front of Bazi’s eating Ice Cream. Pdxbeergeeks is like eating ice cream from now on.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? Yam what I yam

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? Variety and education

Where can we find you on the web? I’m told I facebook a bunch.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Interview Series: Meet the Geeks: Ginger Johnson of Women Enjoying Beer

Name: Ginger Johnson

Hometown: wherever I'm living currently - at the moment = Ashland Oregon; have lived in 8 different states, great people every where

Favorite Beer: Impossible question to answer - the one I'd offer is "The One In Front Of Me"!

Favorite Beer Haunt: again, impossible to say - it's so contextual. My home when I cook dinner, a great beer bar like The Beer Mongers or Beerworks, a pub or restaurant when they have food to match the quality of the beer, and friends' homes to really celebrate life.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Well, I'm one to put all beer in the 'beer' category - the first one I most likely tasted with Miller Light growing up, after construction projects in hot weather. One of the first beers as an adult was Belt Brewings' (MT) Beltian White (which henceforth made me think that they were 'Beltian' whites, not realizing they were in fact 'Belgian' whites!).

Do you Homebrew? If so, favorite Homebrew to date? No I don't homebrew - I'm an excellent cook of food! I do enjoy trying any beer available including of course homebrews by enthusiastic sharing homebrewers.

How'd you hear about the PDXBeerGeeks? Welllllll, the fabulous Emily and I connected via twitter, and a beerific relationship has been brewing - one that I'm very grateful for. I met Michael at the world premier of the beer documentary, For The Love Of Beer - so lucky I am!

What does being a beer geek mean to you? Being a geek - otherwise known as enthusiast (to me) is being open to all opinions, not judging, finding the positive, no arrogance allowed. Being open minded is contagious and fun - which is what beer and life should be.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? That we'd shift culture for the better by shattering myths: verbage and menaings of outmoded words like "Dark" means "heavy" - let's not be beer racists, like 'domestic'; like women don't drink or enjoy beer - please!; like some beers made don't merit our respect - ALL beers and breweries started small - we own them the benefit of the doubt that they are still made by good people who contribute much to our greater American community at large (think employment, supplies, vendors, growers, community involvement, and so on). 
AND the smaller brewers wouldn't be possible without the bigger brewers- they help push and fund technology development, safety, QAQC and research that the entire community (consumers and professionals) benefit from.

What do you love about Portland's Craft Beer Scene? The open minded people like Emily, Lisa Morrison, Shauna Carter, Meghan Letters, Sean Campbell, Angela De Ieso, Nicole Kasten, Christian Ettinger....

Where can we find you on the web? Site:
Twitter @WomenEnjoyBeer
Facebook: Women Enjoying Beer
LinkedIn: Ginger Johnson

Monday, January 16, 2012

News from Apex!

Jesse from Apex responded to our inquiry about what was going on around there... You know, we like to keep everyone in the loop for what's happening around town - so here's the latest info! 

First up, on Thursday the 19th, from 5-9 PM, brewers Steve and Morgan from Ale Industries of Concord, CA will be joining us to tap five of their heretofore untasted in Oregon beers. These two guys are making the slog up I-5 with some fresh kegs to bring you:

East Bay IPA- 7.75%ABV
Rye'd Piper- 5.8%ABV
Uncle Jesse's- 5.3%ABV
Orange Kush- 4.5%ABV
Sour Chocolate Cherry Stout- 11%ABV

And then...

Up next, (and by that I mean the following day) we'll be getting all numerological and at 1:20 PM, on Friday 1/20, well be tapping into a keg of ...  you guessed it:  120 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head.  This batch weighs in at a hefty 18% A.B.V., so we'll be pouring it in 6 oz. glasses so that you, not the limited quantity (sixth barrel), will last the afternoon.

Hopefully these two back to back beer attacks will get your mid-January weekend of to a rockin' start.  See you at APEX!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lucky Town of Jackson Mississippi: Kickstarter Launch!

Congratulations to Lucky Town Brewing Company for their live Kickstarter launch!

Chip from Lucky Town has been keeping us #pdxbeergeeks in the loop for the last 6 months - updating us on their progress - which is considerable when one realizes that there is no brewery within 150 miles of Jackson, Mississippi, but the craft beer community there is thriving. People love local beer! We're so spoiled with great beer and local choices here in Portland, Oregon - can you imagine having to drive 150 miles to seek out a great brewery?

Last night, Lucky Town Brewing launched their Kickstarter project by hosting the "Kickstart Bold Beer Party," at a local craft beer supportive restaurant to show the video premiere that was created by a local videographer, local musicians, and local volunteers. Chip writes:

"First, I want to say thank you for being a voice for craft beer and for the little guys like us. We appreciate all that you do and your work is truly an asset for the craft beer community. As many of you know, Mississippi suffers from some of the strictest beer legislation in the country, which is one reason why there is only one production brewery located in Mississippi currently. Since the laws do not allow for many to bring their beer to Mississippi, we at Lucky Town intend to give the local craft beer enthusiasts a broader choice.
Despite not being allowed to legally serve or even brew our beer yet, we have sold enough tickets to tonight's party to fill the room. The support that we have experienced is humbling and is further proof that Mississippi deserves more choices in beer. Since we are not able to legally serve our
beer tonight, we have selected four locally brewed beers (as local as you can find here) to serve tonight, and we look forward to being able to join the other breweries on local taps in the future... We need your help to connect to world outside of Mississippi."

We've seen what local support can do in Portland; we all benefit daily from the intensive community, the tremendous choice, the camaraderie, and the economic advantages of our local craft beer scene. As a craft beer enthusiast, I'm passionate about supporting the "little guys," at home and across the country, in an effort to ensure that our local economies are strengthened, jobs stay in the United States, and to provide some great beer to drink when I'm traveling.

We know from recent reports that there is still a need and a niche for more craft breweries in the United States. We know from people like The Roaming Pint that the craft beer industry is churning out winning beers all over - from Oregon locals like Barley Brown's Turmoil by Shawn Kelso to Cigar City Brewing in Florida, with their Minaret ESB. Craft beer works!

Take a moment to look at Lucky Town's Kickstarter campaign. Consider our own hometown success story of Brian VanOrnum with Short Snout Brewing in Milwaukie, Oregon. Donate a buck or two to Lucky Town - the equivalent of buying Chip or his crew a pint, and know that if you do, you'll have some great beer in Mississippi when you get there. At the very least, pass along the link or send a high five to all those at Lucky Town. 

We might all live in different cities, with different tastes, and different paths. But one thing I've learned from this industry is that by and large, location and distance don't matter to those who support one another - if you're into craft beer, you're family. Congratulations, Lucky Town, for breaking the ice in Jackson and going for the gusto. We're all behind you!

Jack Harris from Fort George fills us in!

** many thanks to Jack Harris, head brewer at Fort George for sending this update and filling us in on all the happenings out at Fort George in Astoria!
                        YEAR IN RE-BREW + BEER TO COME     

By Jack Harris

As the City of Astoria went into high-gear to celebrate its bicentennial, Fort George ended nine months of demolition and construction was able to stretch its legs into the huge Lovell Building. Making beer 140 kegs at a time rather than 40 improved our efficiencies and elicited many a “That’s a LOT of beer!” from the brew-staff.

Our canning line arrived early in the year and we immediately put it into use gift-wrapping beers into convenient 16 ounce bundles of joy specifically created to honor Astoria’s Birthday, the 1811 Lager. We hired a local distribution staff, and started shipping our beer in large quantities throughout Oregon with Maletis Distributing.

We added a cozy new Tap-room and game area to compliment the pub and worked hard to revamp the menu in response to guest requests.  In the meantime the pub kept working to provide a space for people to gather and celebrate.  Brewers attended countless festivals, tastings, tap-takeovers, dinners and celebrations to put a face on our beer and preach their love of drinking it.

By the end of the year we had both breweries running like tops, our cooler bursting at the seams and three new tanks under construction that will triple our capacity. Our staff has nearly doubled from the end to 2010. We have cleaned out the upstairs of the Fort George Building in preparation for a long overdue pub expansion.

So I leave you with the best of wishes for 2012 (aka Astoria’s 201st Anniversary). Thank you so much for all the support you have given us. To honor that support we resolve to work even harder this year to get a great beer in your hand and a comfortable place to enjoy it with the ones you love.

            WE'RE PLANNING MORE FUN FOR YOU           


Our bigger space means an even better Stout Month.  This February we're adding the Festival of Dark Arts, featuring a carnival of the region's top stouts, and entertainment including a tarot card reader, visual artists, fire dancers, tattoo artists, a live iron forge, and music.  It happens on Saturday, February 18th 2-10 p.m. in the our Lovell Brewery.

“I wanted to make sure our stout fest would be entertaining, while also promoting local artists and tying in stout as another art form,” our Jack Harris explained.

Our breweries will produce at least eight stouts, plus we'll have rotating taps of the region's best stouts all February.

“We’re working on getting an extremely eclectic range of stouts and it’s going to be a lot of fun to come and try these in a very unique environment,” Co-owner, Chris Nemlowill, said.

Also part of Stout Month, the Stouts & Oysters Brewers Dinner Wednesday, February 15th.  Make reservations at or us (503) 325-PINT.

            INDIAN CUISINE & IPA'S DINNER           

Always a sold-out event, the Indian Cuisine & IPAs dinner features 5 courses of delicious dishes paired with some of the very best Northwest-style IPA's. Our head chef, Dana McCauley and his team create a new and exciting menu every year.

On par with the food and beer is the company of fellow guests at the event, as well as the hosts, Fort George owners, Chris Nemlowill and Jack Harris, who describe each course, sharing stories and interesting facts with you.  To Learn more and to sign up, click here.

            1811 LAGER RECEIVES HONOR
Thanks, Beervana, we don't take this lightly...

One of Portland's top bloggers, Jeff Alworth, writes:

2011 Satori Award Winner: Fort George 1811 Lager
I loved this beer the first time I had it... I hope customers are so mesmerized by the shiny blue cans that they ignore the prominent word "lager" and don't read blogs like this.  Because, if they manage to get the beer into their glass, they're in for a treat.  Despite people's expectations about canned lager, this is quite a lively and assertive beer. And, although it is packed with flavor, the volume doesn't blast at IPA levels, so it has that moreishness you want from a summer tipple.  Fort George is one of Oregon's best breweries, and their wish to honor the founding of their home town, Astoria, makes all this a lot easier.

In Zen Buddhism, satori is the moment of sudden enlightenment when the mind realizes its own true nature.

 If you work in marketing at the Fort George, chances are you'll be doing fun stuff such as attending beer festivals, curating art shows, and serving french fries, but recently a project came up that had our Brian Bovenizer staring at a computer screen for months.  He says the new and improved was definitely worth it though.

"Letting people know what we're doing, that is my inspiration, a good web site is not just good looking, but informative and easy to navigate," Bovenizer said.

Our old web site was truly unique and awesome, but tough to update. The new one is completely dynamic.  Do expect to see any and all new beers from Fort George, including description, and ingredients.  Plus, a fresh listing of music and other events. 

So check out the new and you can even download the Fort George theme song, "Beer, beer, beer, beer...", as a ringtone.

            MUSIC & EVENTS CALENDAR     
We offer live music every Sunday at Fort George Brewery + Public House at 8 p.m. 
Jan. 8: Colleen Raney--Northwest Indie Celtic (pictured)
Jan. 15: The Distractions--Local Rock
Jan. 22: Perfect Weather--Seattle Indie Rock
Jan. 29: Lincoln's Bear--Folk Rock
Jan 5: Maritime Museum Science on Tap: Coast Guard Rescues 7-8 p.m.
Jan. 18: Indian Cuisine & IPA's Brewers Dinner
Jan. 19: Fort Clatsop Education Series 6-8 p.m.
Feb. (Entire Month): Stout Month
Feb. 2: Maritime Museum Science on Tap 7-8 p.m.
Feb. 15: Stouts & Oysters Brewers Dinner
Feb. 18: Festival of Dark Arts 2-10 p.m.



Thursday, January 12, 2012

Update from Cascade!

Cascade Barrel House Logo

Tapping the BarrelHold on to your glass, sour beer lover, cause we've got a lot to talk about! First, tonight's Tap It Tuesday live from the barrel series at 6 pm is "Strawberry." This NW style sour ale is a crisp, refreshing wheat beer that was barrel aged for seven months, then additionally aged with strawberries for another eight months. Bright, sweet strawberries and light candy notes greet you in the nose. A light tartness and berry sweetness intermingle on the palate, giving way to a light, sparkling fresh berry tartness in the finish. Is it better as a breakfast beer or a dessert? You decide! 6% ABV / $6.00 Glass.

This Thursday at 4 pm is our annual Four Goses of the Apuckerlips event. Gose (pronounced gose-uh) is a 1000-year-old historic sour wheat beer. Our four Goses are designed and spiced for each season; they are light, slightly soured beers, all brewed with sea salt and various spices. Each comes in at about 5.5% ABV. Enjoy tasting how the different spices can affect the flavor profile. We'll be serving them in teardrop glasses for $4.50 ($5 for the vintage Autumn), or grab a vertical flight of all four for $8. These will pour until they are gone. Spring Gose 2011 is spiced with wild chamomile, lemon peel and culinary lavender; Autumn Gose 2010 is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel; Summer Gose 2011 is spiced with coriander; and  Winter Gose 2011 is spiced with rose hips, orange peel and cinnamon.
Blueberry Blueberry is now on tap, replacing the 2010 draft version of Apricot (Apricot 2011 will come on draft later this year). Also, look for our Blueberry in bottles in the next few months! Sang Royal is on its last keg, and will likely be gone by the end of this week. It will be replaced by Pater, a beer named in honor of Peter Bouckaert, a friend and fellow sour beer appreciator. This is our inflection of a beer he used to make. This red ale was aged in oak barrels with cherries for 12 to 18 months. Tart dusty cherries and bright notes of acidic dark fruit vinegars and black currants greet you in the nose. Rich, tart dark cherries and pits sparkle on the palate. Tart acidic notes of sour pie cherries and light hints of sweet cinnamon, bright cherry skins and red peppercorns lead to a lingering tart dryness of aged cherries. 8.12%ABV, $6.50/glass. This is extremely limited and likely won't last long!
Also later this week, look for Raspberry Beckberry, a NW style sour ale blend of triples and strong blonds that were lacticly fermented and aged more than a year with blackberries in oak. We then did a secondary inoculation with a recently isolated plumbers strain of Brett called Beckamoyces Aasskraquii. Some sour cherries were blended in to give this beer some pucker; it was then additionally blended and aged with raspberries. 8% ABV.

Food specials at the Barrel House include our popular Chicken Royal Petit Sandwich with smoked chicken, pungent Italian Taleggio cheese & red onion, served on grilled purple Sang Royal bread dressed with tomato chutney & Apri-Fall fruit compote ($4.5); Beef Bourguignon Crepes, house-made crepes filled with tender beef, mushroom & onions in a rich cognac and red wine sauce ($8); Royal with Cheese & Tomato Soup, featuring Sang Royal bread and Rimrocker cheese from Bend, panini grilled and served with a cup of tomato soup ($6);  and Oregon Blueberry Chess Pie, a classic Southern-style custard pie in a graham cracker crust, speckled with Oregon blueberries ($4).  Enhance your beer experience by combining white & dark chocolate nibs with our Northwest style sour beers - only $1!

COMING UP: The Barrel House will be closed for a private party on Monday, Jan. 16 at 6pm. Our in-house Scottish fest will take place Jan. 25 - 29; and we'll host a Tart Fruit Beer Extravaganza in February. Look for event details in coming newsletters.

*thanks, Chris, for the update! 

Interview Series : Meet the Geek : Ian T. McGuinness

This is the follow up to the Natian Brewery interview series. Ian is a real class act, and I really hope you can come meet these excellent additions to the Portland beer scene in February hosted by The Guild Public House and #pdxbeergeeks. 

The "Ian" of Natian
Name: Ian T. McGuinness

Hometown: Woodbury, New Jersey (pronounced “Jouysie”)

Favorite Beer: I kinda have to say Yuengling. I grew up in Pennsylvania and was raised to enjoy the oldest brewery in America. When I say “raised” I mean by my high school friends that could grow beards at 16 and avoid being carded. They turned me on to the good ole tradition of Yuengling.

Favorite Beer Haunt: I expect people are wanting to read Bailey’s, Laurelthirst, Eastburn but to be honest I’d have to say a campfire or as a substitute, sitting next to the woodstove in the living room.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Yuengling in Pennsylvania but when I went off to school in Santa Fe, New Mexico I had an IPA at 2nd street brewery right off of campus. I was new to the scene and trying all that the Rockies had to offer. Lots of beer that was new to a guy from the east coast. IPAs blew me away, helped open my thinking to “what actually goes into beer” and quickly afterwards pushed me into homebrewing.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: my homebrew equipment is the brewery so technically, no, I don’t homebrew any more… I think my favorite homebrew was a “mexican lager” Germans brought traditional lagering techniques over to Mexico and I think I made a pretty nice variation. Perhaps when Natian gets big enough equipment, we’ll pull the old recipe out of the vault.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? Knowledge of pdxbeergeeks was instilled in me at birth. They have always and will always be, to me. They are the alpha and the omega. Oh wait, no, I was consuming at the Guild Public House re-opening and met Michael. Goods times were had!

What does being a beer geek mean to you? It means a lot to me, it means 
1. Looking good with a beer at my lips.
2. Having a true purpose for consuming
3. Having a sense of culture by doing something as simple as having one too many pints

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? Don’t necessarily want to change it, just want enthusiasm for American craft beer to continue its growth.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? It’s a great vehicle to meet new people and make more friends!

Where can we find you on the web?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Interview Series : Meet the Geek : Natalia Laird

I had the privilege to meet Natalia a few weeks ago at The Guild re-opening. All I can say is Nat and Ian are a pretty fun couple to be around. It's really reflected in the interview.  You'll be able to meet them yourselves at our second #pdxbeergeeks meet-up in February for a meet the brewers event hosted by The Guild.

The "Nat" of Natian Brewery
Name: Natalia Laird, otherwise known as Nat.

Hometown: Born in Seattle, Washington but moved away really young – my Dad was in the Navy – so I spent 11 years of my childhood in Charleston, SC then back to the Seattle area in junior high and then onward to Jacksonville, Florida in high school.

Favorite Beer: I’m going to be cliché here and say “I CAN’T just pick ONE! (insert giggle)” because I can’t. I have a special place in my heart for Bitburger Pilsner and Yuengling.  I had a beer from Heater Allen at Bailey’s maybe two years ago and I want to say it was their Vienna Lager – I really, really, really lurved that beer. I didn’t order any other beer that night but that one – it was that good, I didn’t want to stop drinking it. Now I don’t see what I had on their website, so maybe it was a seasonal but I still look for it when I go out and about. Also, I la-la-love Pumpkin Ales - I crushed hard for Flat Tail’s Pumpkin Stout.  I love Pelican’s IPA – that’s usually a go- to 22oz bottle buy & I wish I saw it on draft more often.

I love the beers we make because, um, I have to believe in my product, right?! The Lumberjane Stout and the Old Grogham Winter IPA – they’re just such big delicious beers that I could drink all night, or at least attempt to without blacking out and waking up the next morning surrounded by Taco Bell wrappers – because that may have happened and maybe more than once. But, I guess there are worse things to wake up being surrounded by…

Favorite Beer Haunt: Can I say my house? I like to be at home drinking beer, with my cats, crocheting and watching Netflix. (Have people stopped reading this now?)

When I’m not at home, with my cats, crocheting with Intervention streaming on Netflix… I love going out to Laurelthirst Public House and watching the bands play, meeting up with friends because everyone and their brother’s mother is there and you will always, without a doubt, run into them. And people watching – it’s always a good time.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think?  Here are my shunning moments revealed. I was late to the craft beer scene party. Or maybe my invite was sent to the wrong address…

I drank beer and enjoyed it but never really fell head over heels for it – I think it was mostly because I had no idea what I “should” have been drinking. I’d go down the beer aisle and be overwhelmed with the choices so I would usually bypass it and go straight for the Cook’s Brut Champagne and call it a night.  And then I met Ian. I would bring over my bottle of Champagne (no glass required!) to his house and we would have dance parties to the Talking Heads and laugh, a lot, mostly at his dance moves and then my bottle would eventually run dry. He then proceeded to pop open a bottle of his Pumpkin Ale homebrew for me to try and I couldn’t believe what I was tasting – not because I had consumed an entire bottle of Champagne and my taste buds were as slurry as my brain mechanisms – but because I had never tasted anything like that before. I would continue to go over to his house, sans Champagne, and drink his stash of Pumpkin Ale homebrew, and tolerate his company. Once the stash was emptied, I had not only warmed up to Ian, but I emerged out of my Champagne cocoon into a craft beer butterfly.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: I never homebrewed on my own - I would always help Ian out when he homebrewed but never brewed solo until I “brewery-brewed.”

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? Good ‘ole Facebook! Then I officially heard and met Michael from pdxbeergeeks at The Guild Public House’s grand re-opening.

What does being a beer geek mean to you?  It means learning. There are so many styles and hops and grains and yeast and the different ways they all interact with each other during all stages of the brewing process. I like being able to drink a beer and try figuring out what I’m tasting and why – especially with other people – and getting different takes on what other people taste or what people like and don’t like compared to my take. It’s like a science project in a pint.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be?  In my opinion, people spend too much time on criticizing what they don’t like about beer – I say if you don’t like it then don’t drink it and move on.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene?  That you can go any bar and find a craft beer. That one can go into a restaurant, like Hawthorne Hophouse

Where can we find you on the web?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Vintage Beer Trucks...

1941 Dodge COE Miller beer truck
1941 Dodge COE

White COE Labatt's beer truck
White Labatt’s truck @ 1986 EXPO in Vancouver BC

possibly a White Labatt's beer truck
Sakhnoffsky-designed White Labatt’s truck

pair of White Labatt's beer trucks
White tractors with Fruehauf trailers

Fruehauf Labatt's beer trailer
Fruehauf Labatt’s trailer

1937 Ford Grain Belt Beer truck
1937 Ford

proposed General Body Company Schlitz beer truck
Proposed Schlitz truck by the General Body Company

1935 Stewart Edelbrau beer truck
1935 Stewart

1930s GMC O'Keefe beer truck
1930s GMC

Fruehauf trailer hauling Brading's beer
Fruehauf trailer, unknown tractor

1938 White Grain Belt Beer truck
1938 White
I love this Labatt's streamlined trailer. It's SO cool. 

Aside from the fact that Morgan at Ninkasi and I seemed to be finding the EXACT same image at the same split second (that was so perfectly timed and weird it gave me the heebie jeebies) - I really love these old streamlined beer trucks. Holy cats I wish I could have one of these babies for #pdxbeergeeks road trippery. Which one is *your* favorite?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Saturday! Meet Greg Koch at Belmont Station


Next Event: Saturday January 7 from 2 - 4pm

Meet Greg Koch, Founder of Stone Brewing!

Greg will be here to share stories and sign copies of his book "The Craft of Stone Brewing Co." This is the story of the 15 year history of Stone Brewing, with insights into the entrepreneurial story and keys to business success. Plus stories behind EVERY Stone beer & 18 homebrew recipes for Stone beers -- the largest collection ever. We'll have copies to sell for the event. Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale, Double Bastard Ale, and Stone IPA on tap.