Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Interview Series : Meet the Geek : Zach Beckwith Now With Pints Brewing

Zach Beckwith at the Beer Summer Games 2008
Name: Zach Beckwith

Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI

Favorite Beer: A really well crafted stout, Bell’s Expedition and my own Black Dawn come to mind

Favorite Beer Haunt: In Portland, Horsebrass, elsewhere, Ashley’s in Ann Arbor, MI.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? I started exploring craft beer at an early age. My first beer, period, was a Guinness that my dad had in our basement fridge that he used for cooking. After that I went through a George Killian’s Red phase along with some Pete’s and Sam Adams Oktoberfest before being introduced to Bell’s and New Holland by a friend’s older brother. I’m not positive but my first Michigan craft beer was probably Bell’s Oberon or Bell’s Best Brown, either way I was inspired and started seeking out every new beer I could find.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: Unfortunately I don’t really homebrew myself anymore, but am always willing to help friends that do. Before turning pro, I homebrewed for about 5 years, and one of my most memorable batches was a saison with black peppercorns and grapefruit rind, that I later used as the inspiration for a beer I brewed at Lompoc.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? Direct from the source! I had the chance to meet Michael at one of the Lompoc media tastings, though in truth, I had heard of the group before that, your legend precedes you.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? When someone mentions Michael Jackson, you think of the beer hunter first.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? I would like to see traditional cask beer more readily available.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? Everything, but most of all the camaraderie between brewers.

Where can we find you on the web?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunshine Tavern's Beer Camp Featuring Lompoc's Bryan Keilty

The next installment of Sunshine Tavern's popular Beer Camp will feature Bryan Keilty, brewmaster at Lompoc Brewing. Join Bryan as he walks campers through an afternoon of learning and tasting, followed by a three-course cozy meal complete with beer pairings and a good buzz. 

Bryan Keilty of Lompoc fame.

Beers on tap will include ~ 

Kick Axe Dry Hopped Pale Ale
Batch 69 Baltic Porter
Bob's Memorial Braggot
Centennial IPA 
Bourbon Barrel Aged LSD

Lompoc Beer Camp at the Sunshine Tavern
Saturday, March 3rd
Camp starts at 4:00pm with dinner to follow
Cost: $60 (gratuity not included)
Call 503.288.6200 for a reservation.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Uptown Market, A New West Side Favorite? - Guest Post By Joe Morris

Special guest article from Joe Morris. Thanks for taking the time to get over to Uptown Market and do a great review of this new west side gem. 

Despite Portland’s well-deserved reputation as a craft brew and homebrewing hotbed, there has long existed a black hole on the west side of town. Deep Southwest Portland and Beaverton have been mostly under-serviced in terms of bottle shops, homebrew stores and premium watering holes.

Frustrated beer geeks found themselves picking through grocery shelves for quality ales or making a trek to Multnomah Village for something more unique. Meanwhile devoted homebrewers in the area traveled to Tigard and Hillsboro for brew supplies.

Beaverton has been something of a desert island in a sea of quality beer... but now we’ve found a new oasis.

Uptown Market opened on December 10th, 2011 to quench the thirst of the teeming suburban masses.

Bottle selections
First conceived over four years ago by brothers AJ and Chris Shepard and college friend Stuart Faris, Uptown Market is a hand-in-glove fit for the locals in the area.

The concept is simple.... So stunningly simple, it is surprising that there are not more shops like it. A combination bottle shop and local home brew store is a novel idea and it works fantastically.

A shared love of craft beer originally inspired the trio to plan to open a bottle shop. As their interest in beer developed it naturally progressed into a love of homebrewing. In turn, this lead to the idea of combining the two concepts under one roof.

Sitting around a table fashioned from a wine barrel, drinking a American pale ale brewed in one of their classes, I asked Stuart what he enjoys most about being involved in craft brew culture...“I just love getting people excited about beer.” And that statement seems to sum up the motivation of the three co-owners. They are enthusiastic about both beer and the local community and it is reflected in nearly everything they do.

Uptown hosts tastings from local commercial breweries on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. They teach beginning homebrew classes on Sundays (though they will teach classes on other days by appointment for large groups).

Classes and tastings
I stepped into Uptown on a recent Friday night and the atmosphere was that of a party. Laurelwood was there, meeting customers and showcasing their wares. Uptown maintains 6 taps and a kegerator on which they rotate notable craft brews alongside their own homebrew. Customers often show up with bottles of their own creation to share. It is a great vibe and reflective of the culture the owners are building with their shop.

Tasting events typically involve opportunities to meet professional brewers, other brewery reps and cop some free swag. However, on April 14th, Uptown is collaborating with Widmer Brothers Brewing to bring something truly special to their customers. Four local brewers will have an opportunity to not only meet the brewer, but brew Widmer’s famed Pitch Black IPA in-store on a homebrew scale. The four lucky brewers will be chosen in the coming weeks...details to follow.

Thus far, the bottle side outpaces the brewstore side in terms of selection and variety, owed mostly to the dazzling array of bottles on hand. When asked to name a few truly unique bottles in the shop, the consensus was “pick a door,” as there is a show-stopper behind each of the fridge doors which line the back wall of the establishment. From Newberg’s Ninkasi Award winning homebrewer-turned-pro Paul Long’s cult favorite IPA to Xingu by FEMSA Cerveja Brasil, a Brazilian brewery that burns its own biomass to sustain operations, there is something special for even the most erudite beer geek.

The homebrew side of the operation is up and running and has everything a beginning brewer (all-grain or extract) needs to get started. They carry bulk extract, base malts, specialty grains, hops and liquid yeast. Over the past few weeks, the shop has been rounding out the inventory to include more of the odds and ends that brewers need. There is plenty of square footage on the homebrew side that they hope to fill out and they are very receptive to customer requests for products and ideas. 

Homebrew supplies
The hours Uptown keeps makes them unique among local homebrew stores. There is a moment of panic when a brewer has to complete a task and is missing a crucial piece of equipment. This moment of truth occurred for me after racking 5+ gallons of a big NW Red Ale to be bottled and discovered I was missing my bottling wand. I ran out the door and within 5 minutes, was able to purchase a replacement at about 9pm on a weeknight. That’s huge.

To further encourage creativity and involve the local homebrew community, Uptown is sponsoring an Imperial IPA homebrew competition. Entries are to be judged on April 1 and in the spirit of that date, the rules are...there are no rules (other than fitting the BJCP style guide for IIPA). They are out-of-the-box thinkers and it seems that the open format of the competition will reward out-of-the-box brewers.

Uptown Market is located at 6620 SW Scholls Ferry Rd (near Allen) and is open seven days a week. I highly recommend stopping by to sharing a pint, meet the guys and geek out on beer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BREWPUBLIC & The Guild Pub Present: The Beer Mixology Hat-Trick

Portland, OR -- Three breweries, three states, three beer cocktails. On February 25th, BREWPUBLIC is bringing together a trifecta of tristate craft breweries to perform the ultimate beer mixology hat-trick at The Guild Pub in Portland, OR.

Saturday evening, starting at 6pm, The Guild Pub will experience an invasion of brewers and a three-way tap and cocktail menu takeover. Representing the home team is Commons Brewery, a small craft brewery located in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Joining the threesome from the North is Mt. Tabor Brewing, the newest craft brewery to open in Vancouver, Washington. And completing the love triangle, from the state to the South, is Bison Brewing, a 100% certified organic craft brewery from Berkeley, California.

“The Guild has been interested in doing beer cocktails for some time and is excited to partner with three innovative craft breweries, Portland’s number one source for beer news, and the country’s premier beer mixologist for the first of many beer cocktail events to come.”  – Dan Roy, owner of The Guild Pub.

For four straight hours, The Guild Pub will feature a menu of original beer cocktails designed by each of the breweries with the help of BeerMixology.com’s founder, Ashley "Beer Wench" Routson. In addition to the cocktails designed by each brewery, there will be a special "his & her" beer cocktail collaborated on by beer blogging duo, Angelo De Ieso and Ashley Routson. Sample pours of each beer will be available for the inquisitive minds craving a side by side analysis. Brewmasters from each brewery will also be in house, making the menage-a-trois of beer love an even more intimate experience.

The Beer Mixology Hat Trick

Who: BREWPUBLIC, Commons Brewery, Mt. Tabor Brewing, Bison Brewing
Where: The Guild Pub
1101 East Burnside Street
When: February 25th, 6-10pm
Cost: $8 per cocktail, $4 per pint

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Interview Series: Meet the Geeks: Evan Cohan of Beercycling

Name: Evan Cohan

Hometown: Portland, OR (by way of Ventura, CA)

Favorite Beer: It changes, just like the seasons, but it’s currently the Secession CDA from Hopworks. By far the tastiest Black IPA / CDA I’ve ever had.

Favorite Beer Haunt: Locally I tend to enjoy the seemingly endless selection of sours available over at the Cascade Barrel House. A lot of PDX’ers may not realize just how unique and special that place is for the development of bold, tart beer. There really isn’t another place on the planet (that I know of) that even compares with the quality AND quantity that they produce. For lack of a better word, I think it’s “dreamy”.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Like a lot of folks, Fat Tire and NBB initially helped me realize that beer could actually have flavor. It was a gateway for me to try new craft beers on a regular basis. But it wasn’t until I had a Unibroue’s infamous “La Fin Du Monde” years later that I realized how much of an impact Belgian and Strong-ales would have on me. At the time I couldn’t believe a beer could be 9% ABV, but now I tend think of it as an “easy drinking strong ale”. Haha. Needless to say, Belgian-style beers are tops for me. So much, in fact, that I now work each summer in Belgium!

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: Yes. Rather new to it, just partial mashes thus far. My latest creation, a 8% Honey Orange French Saison, came out fairly decent. I’ve been experimenting by blending champagne into the beer for a little extra “sparkle”. I’m considering brewing a Belgian Tripel next with Sweet Potatoes.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? I saw you guys wearing the T-Shirts at the Holiday Ale festival and looked you up on Twitter. Love the name!

What does being a beer geek mean to you? Spending countless hours researching beers online, attending beer festivals, becoming giddy over extremely nerdy things like vertical tastings, and getting to say fancy words like “brettanomyces”. It’s also our obligation to convert “normal beer drinkers” over to our side. This can be a fun exercise. (Happy to report that my father can no longer stand the taste of Corona, go Dad!) Being a Beer Geek is also a great excuse to travel. I tend to line up each vacation around visiting breweries and seeking out the best local beer bars.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? When it comes to US beer, we are leading the WORLD in beer styles and in experimentation. So NOTHING needs to be changed there. But I think the whole attitude about beer consumption needs to change. I would love to see moderation be encouraged. We should focus on creating a richer experience around enjoying a single beer. We could do this in lots of ways like by serving each beer in a custom glass, at the correct temperature, and perhaps more of a focus on bottles rather than drafts at the bar. I also think we should lower the drinking age to 16 or 18 like they have in Europe. Start young, but start safe.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? How the number of breweries increases dramatically ever year but there is still plenty of room for more. Rather than a high supply creating ugly competition, it creates positive exposure, drives up the quality, and allows for more niche styles. When a neighborhood gets a new brewery it’s almost like it’s instantly transformed into a cool area to hangout. People from all over the world know about our town, and we’ve created quite the beer vacation destination as a result.

What can you tell us about Beercycling? In 2011 I started an outdoor adventure company around my passion for beer and bicycle touring called “Beercycling”. We currently offer guided 10-day beer tasting cycling tours in Belgium, the Netherlands, and next year in San Diego. Every day of the tour we get some great exercise, visit a new brewery, and get to learn all about beer right from the source! We take care of the bike rentals, hotels, routes, language translation, and most meals, all for one flat rate. So you get to just show up and ride as we guide you from Pint A to Pint B! We currently have 5 tours in 2012 open for registration on our website, www.beercycling.com. If you are thinking about making your pilgrimage to Belgium, and want to do it in a unique way, we might have just the tour you’re looking for!

Where can we find you on the web?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview Series: In Depth with Jack Harris of Fort George

Festival of Dark Arts is happening tomorrow! Get down to Fort George Brewery in Astoria for a ton of fun surrounding stout month - and read on for an in depth interview with Jack Harris of Fort George!

Stout Month 2012 by artist Chris Lee

How long has Fort George been open? Tell us a little about the new expansion in the production facility? 

Fort George was conceived in the fall of 2005, built in 2006 and opened March 11, 2007. Originally we rented 3000 square feet on the West Half of the main level in the Fort George Building. The pub and brewery were short on space right away. We lobbied our landlord (who graciously loaned us space in another of his buildings) to sell us the Fort George Building from almost the start, with the plan being to expand the brewery into the upstairs with more fermenters and a packaging line. When he finally got sick of hearing from us, he offered to sell the building on the condition we bought all of his Downtown Astoria property at once. Chris (my business partner) took on the challenge and organized a financing package that allowed us to buy the whole block. Once we owned the Lovell building in addition to the Fort George it seemed to make a lot more sense to get a new production brewery to take advantage of the vast expanse of open, ground-level space it afforded. We bought a 15 year-old, 30 bbl DME system from St. Arnold in Houston, Texas in 2010 and had it up and running at the beginning of 2011. This week we took delivery on two 120 bbl fermenters and a 120 bbl bright tank manufactured new at Metalcraft in Portland. They are literally being installed as I write this. This will triple our current capacity and pretty much fills in all the available space we once thought infinite.

What additional changes has the quick expansion and growth brought to Fort George? Increased staff? Increased distribution? 

We have almost doubled our staff, both in the pub and brewery, since we opened the new brewery (affectionately known as Little Miss Texas) last year. While we have been aware of and have planned pretty well for this growth it has challenged us as an organization. It is important that everyone feels like they are in the loop as far as decision making and we have added some management layers that take that intimacy away. Fortunately the managers we have promoted to new responsibilities are committed to our team ethic and work very hard to keep lines of communication open. Our training programs have improved by leaps and bounds and have already paid dividends with improved safety protocols, customer service and organization. Nikki Olsen at Deschutes Brewery has been invaluable as our 5-S/Lean Manufacturing mentor.
Our need for space seems insatiable. We have some creative folks in charge of warehousing our cooperage, cans and equipment, but a walk-in cooler solution needs to be addressed soon. 
As far as distribution, we have a very measured, long-term plan for introducing our beer to new markets. Maletis and Odom Distributing have both been very patient and supportive of our goals.

Where can we find Fort George outside Oregon?

Right now you can find Fort George Beer in the Vancouver, WA metro area downriver to Longview. We self-distribute to the Long Beach Peninsula in Pacific County, WA as well. We have plans for the Seattle area, but are not ready to announce a release date as of yet.

How long have you been brewing? Where did you brew before Fort George?

I began brewing for the McMenimans in 1990 at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, back when the brewery and pub were still in the old Imbrie House. I migrated to the McForeign Legion outpost of Lincoln City and brewed there until 1993 when I accepted a job to open a brewpub in Boulder, Colorado. I brewed at the Mountain Sun for three years, long enough to meet my future wife and then followed her back to Oregon where she was enrolled at the National College of Naturapathic Medicine. I spent a year in Central Oregon as the first brewer at Cascade Lakes, living in the front office of the brewery with my dog. A friend told me that Bill's Tavern was going to be rebuilt as a brew-pub and I missed both a pub atmosphere and the beach so I lobbied very hard to get that opportunity. I brewed in Cannon Beach for 9 years before opening Fort George. 

What are your primary focuses when creating a new beer?

There are a million variables, but a few questions I ask before committing to something new are: Are we chasing a fad? What can we add to this style of beer that nobody else has addressed? What distinguishes this beer from others like it? Is it a gimmick or does the new ingredient or technique add value to the beer? Is the final beer greater than the sum of its' parts? Would I drink three pints of this beer at one sitting?

Has your experience at Fort George expanded your creativity in brewing?

Maybe by proxy. I have a host of really creative, enthused and hard-working brewers that have a multitude of beer ideas spilling out of them. They are constantly pitching new ideas and techniques to either improve our standard selection or completely new beers this planet has never seen. Some of those will remain unseen, but folks will be seeing new stuff from Fort George for a long while.

Last year (2011) we saw a collaboration by Fort George and Astoria Brewing on Batcountry, a stout/lager hybrid. Any plans for new hybrid or collaboration beers on the horizon? 

Bat Country was a huge hit and it only further solidified our positive working relations with Astoria Brewing, who have plans for a brewery expansion of their own. We are currently in discussions with other breweries about collaborations, but it would be premature to announce anything at this time. We will let you know when we have a solid plan.

Where did your love of beer come from?

Beer has been very good to me. It would be hard not to love it for that reason alone. Really, like mom or apple pie, it never occurred to me that everyone didn't love beer. I have just been incredibly lucky to build a life around it.

What's your favorite Fort George beer?

I have heard that secretly, parents do have a favorite child. (We are raising an only child, so I don't know.) Choosing my favorite beer at Fort George is difficult. I am pretty renowned among our bartenders for being hard to predict my choice of refreshment. Time, place and context all have an influence on my choice at any given moment, but if put on the spot, right this second while I am typing on my home computer (our office is taken apart for upstairs remodeling) I would order a Cavatica Stout. Mmmmn, Stout.

What kind of style of beer would you suggest for someone who is completely new Fort George beers? What do you consider your flagship beer? 

Again, that depends on the person. Are they familiar with and appreciative of craft beer? I would get them started with an Oatmeal Pale Ale. Are they new to or skeptical of more flavorful beer? Quick Wit rarely gets rejected. I have never been comfortable with a Flagship Beer, it implies special treatment or a feeling that other beers are less important, but it would be hard to deny that Vortex IPA is our most renowned beer.

festival of Dark Arts poster by artist Sallie Lackaff

Fort George is known for events like Festival of the Dark Arts during Stout Month (February) and the Brewer's Dinners, with special menus prepared by Chef Dana - what can you tell us about what's coming up? 

Well Stout Month (aka February) is looking to be huge. We will have at least 8 of our own Stouts available and will be rotating 8 more stouts onto our guest handles through the month. We hosted our Stout and Oyster Brewers Dinner on Wednesday, February 15th. That dinner featured at least 5 new Stouts with a five course Oyster oriented meal.

Then on Saturday, February 18th we will hold the Festival of Dark Arts - A Carnival of Stout in the Lovell Building. That will entail a huge Dark Art Gallery,a live Blacksmithing demonstration, on-site Tattoo Artists, a Tarot Card reader, Belly Dancers, Pirates, Ambient Music, Fire Dancers, a Fire Eater and at least 15 Stouts that haven't been poured yet during the month. This will be a Beer Festival format, no charge for entry, but you must purchase a glass and tickets to sample the beer.
Update *** Tattoo Artists are almost completely booked up for the Festival of Dark Arts this Saturday. Check with Hold Fast Tattoo Co. & Gallery and Keepsake Tattoo Studio to book your Stout Month tattoo in front of a live Stout Drinking audience!
Fort George is now a pinnacle of the rebirth happening in Astoria and the revival of that community - how do you and your staff carry your mission at Fort George into the community? 

The Fort George Brewery and Public House stands on the shoulders of giants in this community that labored for years to pave the way for businesses like ours to flourish. One example is Uriah Hulsey who spent 20 years running the Columbian Cafe and insisting that good, fresh food could be sold, even in a town that looked like it was dying in the 80's. In his role as City Planner, Paul Benoit starting putting plans together years ago that would protect the waterfront and make it accessible to pedestrians, effectively making Astoria the best walking town in the Northwest. The city has supported our every effort from helping us re-zone to allow our activities, to coming up with creative strategies for us to meet strict building code ordinances while re-purposing old buildings. There are countless other examples of people who went out of their way, at their own expense for the benefit of Fort George. If we have come to symbolize the renaissance of Astoria it is due, in a large part to the community wanting us to happen as much as our managing our development from the top. 
We try to honor this connection by supporting as many of the local efforts as we can either by donating services, hosting in our event spaces or just showing up with a beer about when a beer is very needed.
Anything else you want to tell us about what's happening at Fort George? 

We will be celebrating our 5th anniversary this March and it is really amazing to see where we have arrived at in such a short time. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day operations where the changes often seem incremental. I am always humbled and flattered when folks take notice and share in our enthusiasm and optimism. Sometimes it seems more like a wave I am learning to ride, rather than a business I supposedly run. Thank-you for your interest and hopefully we can share a beer together sometime soon. That is what this is really all about.

Fort George Brewery - visit www.fortgeorgebrewery.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Interview Series: Meet the Geek: Daniel Roy

I've personally known Dan Roy for longer then I care to mention. (20 years?) So I was excited when he offered to step up and do our interview series. Come on down to The Guild Public House for our "Meet the Brewer" series and Can Release party from 6-8pm on 2/16 with Natian Brewery, and meet Dan for yourself.  ~ Michael

DanRoy of The Guild Public House
Name: DanRoy

Hometown: Portland, OR via Salem, OR

Favorite Beer: Too many to name, but here are a few. Burnside Brewing Oatmeal Pale Ale, Natian Brewing Old Grogham Winter IPA, Pelican Brewing Kiwanda Cream Ale, Boneyard Skunk Ape IRA, and once in a while I like a nice PBR tall boy (it did win a blue ribbon once).

Favorite Beer Haunt: The Guild Public House...duh

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Probably Widmer Hefeweizen around 1995. I was drinking as much of those as I could, sometimes without a lemon. That’s right, I was hardcore. I thought it was like mana from heaven. No longer did I have to suffer through another six pack of “Beast Ice”.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: I used to homebrew, but I wasn’t very good at it. I gave it up years ago.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? An upstanding young lad named Michael Umphress. We have been known to have a pint together every now and again.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? Just enjoying beer and trying different styles. You never know when you are going to find the perfect one. I haven’t yet so the search continues.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? I would want more people to support the craft brewing industry. Portland is great for it, but there are a lot of people who won’t venture away from the macro lagers, and that’s not to put those beers down. They definitely have a place in society, but c’mon...

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? So much to choose from. It seems like everybody is doing quality beer right now. 

Where can we find you on the web? 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Big News From Natian Brewery!

Who wants micro in a can from Portland? We're not waiting for the answer, we're bringing it anyway!
Yesterday Natian Brewery showed us a sneak peek on Facebook of something in the works. They announced the release of 16 oz. cans into the line-up. First up will be the UnDun Blonde Ale, with rumors of Old Grogham become a regular release in the future. This may make Natian the first "nano-brewery" to can in the Portland area.  This Thursday 2/16 from 6-8 pm #pdxbeergeeks is proud to host a "Meet the Brewers" and can release party with Natian Brewery at The Guild Public House. Limited availability of cans will be there, so come early.  Also several taps will be pouring some fine Natian beverages.

Old Grogham IPA
Lumberjane Stout
Vertical Horizon Red Ale
(one undetermined tap)

Raffle prizes will also be available from some outstanding providers. Hope to see you all there! Just tell them #pdxbeergeeks sent you...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Interview Series: Meet the Geek: Jesse Cornett

Name: Jesse Cornett

Hometown: Portland, OR . I moved here right after high school meaning I’ve lived here longer than everywhere else combined (Alabama, Kentucky, Seattle, Michigan and Texas) and married a native so consider it my hometown.

Favorite Beer: It depends on the season. I’m quite fond of Southern Oregon Brewing’s Na Zdravi in the summer. In the winter it’s whatever I find at the store that I haven’t tried yet.

Favorite Beer Haunt: My garage. My beer fridge is loaded with goodies from friends, from great brewers, and even the occasional macro.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? I think it was Widmer Hefeweizen. I loved it but it didn’t convert me.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: Yes though not a ton. I think there are at least 1000 better brewers in Portland than me (fortunately one of whom is my brew partner) Favorite to date: Lents Brewing Coalition’s Urban Renewal IPA or Goat Scrotum Ale. It’s a toss up. 

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? Emily, of course.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? Trying lots of beer. Not drinking lots (well, sometimes). As long as I can remember (at least 2000) I’ve always sought out the local beer at a good local dive wherever I’ve traveled. From Ireland and Washington DC to San Diego and Seattle, a joy of traveling for me is trying a beer I’d never heard of or seen and if possible at a brewery. My wife rolls her eyes at how many breweries we’ve been to over time.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? More cans! Last year I organized a canned beer fest. Stay tuned for details on Cans Fest 2: http://www.facebook.com/thecansfest

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? The people, the places (Belmont Station, any great brewpub, Horse Brass and on and on) and the endless selection of great beer.

Where can we find you on the web? I’m on Facebook at lot (http://www.facebook.com/jessecornett) but be warned, I talk as much about politics as I do beer. If you’re offended by liberalism you might not want to friend me;-)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Interview Series: Meet the Geeks: Seattle Edition: Chris Engdahl of Lantern Brewing

Chris Engdahl of Lantern Brewing: Seattle, Washington
Name: Chris Engdahl

Hometown: PDX

Favorite Beer: Lantern Brewing Tripel

Favorite Beer Haunt: The Dray, Seattle

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Does Weinhard’s “Blue Boar” count? If not, probably Bridgeport’s Pale Ale, I think I recall it was super bitter and flavorful, way more so than the Hamm’s I was used to drinking.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: Used to homebrew, before the whole commercial brewing thing got in the way.  Favorite is a “graveyard” blended batch of 2 different Belgian strongs plus a weird barleywine with honey, cellared them away in ’09 and blew my mind drinking one on New Year’s Eve 2011->12.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks?  My sister told me about it.

What does being a beer geek mean to you?  It means that I get to be proud of knowing arcane but useful stuff about beer styles, beer history, biochemistry, and making it all come together in delicious beer that I make.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be?   Everything is so dang far.  Shrink this place down so we can walk or bike from brewery to brewery, bar to bar, taproom to… either that or keep building up brewing density and invigorating the local scenes.  Oh wait, one more thing – as with country music, there is an invented “craft beer” culture that needs to be blown up.  Keep the local scenes local and unique; everyone should be focusing on what’s special around them instead of elsewhere.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene?  That it’s vibrant and still changing, reinvigorated, and that it’s in Portland and not Seattle so when I want a change of scene I can come down and visit.

Where can we find you on the web?  At ‘cho web mama’s house.  Or www.lanternbrewing.com, or facebook.  Or whatever, the web is lame anyway, beer is better than the web.

Lantern Brewing | Seattle, WA | 425-677-4977
W: Lanternbrewing.com | Fb: Lantern Brewing | Tw: @lanternbrewing

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Interview Series: Meet the Geeks: Florida Edition: Gerard Walen

Gerard Walen of Roadtrips4Beer!
Name: Gerard Walen

Hometown: Clermont, Florida. Born and raised in Tampa.

Favorite Beer: It’s easier to name my favorite child because I only have one of those. As far as “go to” beers, there’s Cigar City Jai Alai IPA and the standby Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I enjoy  a lot of seasonals, and love big imperial stouts.
Favorite Beer Haunt: Another tough one because I live in a craft beer bar desert, so I don’t really have a “haunt.” However, within an hour’s driving distance from my home, I’ll give a nod to Redlight Redlight in Orlando. If I want to make it a day trip, I’ll head to Sarasota and hit the Cock & Bull, a favorite haunt when I lived there.
What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think?  After a long time being a friend of A-B followed by an extended dalliance with Corona Light, a friend turned me on to an import: Young’s Ramrod Ale. It had taste! It had character! Thus began my craft-beer journey.
Do you homebrew? Yes, I just started last year. I’ve only made three batches, but hope to amp that up in 2012. All of them turned out decent and drinkable, so that’s encouraging.
How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? I was aware of the group through the Twitter hashtag, but then got to meet some of you in person at the 2011 Beer Bloggers Conference. Great folks and enthusiastic craft beer advocates.

What does being a beer geek mean to you?  The macrobrew offerings are monochromatic in that there is little to no difference between them in taste, appearance or brewing techniques.
The big brewers’ attempts at tapping the craft beer market – Shock Top, Blue Moon, Killians, etc. – introduce shades of gray and pale pastels to the spectrum, in that the beer drinker will find slightly more taste and variety, but the range is still limited. 

Craft beer, though, is like Dorothy opening the front door in “The Wizard of Oz.” Suddenly, there is a colorful rainbow of tastes and styles, each different from the other, that opens up a seemingly infinite number of choices on what to put in your glass. Being a beer geek means immersing oneself in that glorious rainbow and being open to new taste experiences and adventures. No one will like all of it, but there is something there for everybody.
If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? Just one thing? I’d like to see more mainstream acceptance, I suppose, such as more craft beer offerings at restaurants, availability at more hotel bars and on airplane flights, more shelf space at grocery stores, etc.
What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene?  Though some outside the area may think there is an air of smugness or superiority among Portland beer geeks, it is not at all true. The people and venues of Portland’s craft beer scene opened their arms wide to welcome all of us who attended BBC11, and that impressed me immensely. This is not exclusive to Portland, though; I’ve seen it nearly everywhere I travel, but perhaps I did not expect such a high level of enthusiasm from folks eager to educate us out-of-towners on what Portland has to offer. I wish I could have stayed longer.

Where can we find you on the web?

I have two beer sites, so here’s the info for each.
Road Trips for Beer
Email: Gerard@RoadTripsForBeer.com
Twitter: @roadtrips4beer (note the numeral!)

Beer in Florida
Email: trips4beer@gmail.com
Twitter: @BeerInFlorida

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

PCC Celebrates 50th Anniversary with McMenamins Partnership

Introduction written by Connie Umphress

On Wednesday February 1st, McMenamins will be rolling out a new brew honoring Portland Community College’s anniversary and the college’s founder, Dr. Amo DeBernardis. “Dr. De’s Special Bitter” will be on tap at the pubs closest to the college’s major campuses and center: Mall 205, Rock Creek Tavern, The Chapel Pub, and John Barleycorns.

The college has been part of my life for a long time, I am proud to say I am a graduate and an employee. One of the taglines for this district-wide celebration is “Opportunity – Then. Now. Always.” The college has given me and millions of students in the Portland metro area opportunities; opportunity to explore vocations, opportunity to re-build lives and opportunity to access education.

Cheers to PCC on this huge milestone and cheers to McMenamins for celebrating this anniversary with the college.

From press release - In the early 60s, spurred by the Soviets’ launch of Sputnik and a perceived “missile gap,” the U.S. responded with a program to get more of its people educated. Support for higher education flowed from the Federal government and the community college movement was born.

Called Napoleonic, imaginative, compassionate, grumpy and innovative, Amo DeBernardis, known as “Dr. De,” seized the moment and created Portland Community College from the adult education wing of Portland Public Schools. Driven by the revolutionary idea that all people—not just the elite—deserve a chance to better their lot through education, Dr. De fought all naysayers to nurture the college through its formative years, setting the path for the next 50 years of opportunity that PCC now celebrates this anniversary year.

Collaborating with McMenamins brewers at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse and John Barleycorns, PCC decided to honor this gray-suited 1960s rebel and former student of North Portland’s Kennedy School with an commemorative elixir thusly dubbed 'Dr. De’s Special Bitter.'

This special ale highlights Oregon’s deep brewing culture. Combining Oregon-grown 2-Row barley, a touch of character malt, Oregon-grown hops, and fermented with Oregon-grown yeast, Dr. De's Special Bitter is a delightfully balanced and refreshing reminder of just how good we have it here. Subtle malts underlie a robust, well-mannered hopping that ends each sip with an invitation to take another.

This February, join us in raising a pint to the inimitable Dr. De, PCC and 50 years of opportunity and the pursuit of higher learning at the following McMenamins locations closest in proximity to the 4 PCC campuses: The Chapel Pub, McMenamins Mall 205, John Barleycorns & the Rock Creek Tavern.

OG 1.047
TG 1.008
ABV 5.03%