Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Great News From Lompoc Brewing!

New Old Lompoc gets new lease on life,
announces return to NW 23rd Avenue in 2013

From press release - PORTLAND, Ore. - March 28, 2012 - With the impending demolition of the venerable New Old Lompoc brewery & pub on NW 23rd Ave. next month, many Portlanders have questioned where they'll go for a new watering hole. Lompoc owner Jerry Fechter has good news: Lompoc Brewing has signed a lease in the new building and is looking to reopen in summer 2013.

"We shall return!" exclaimed Fechter. "Maybe not as dramatic as General McArthur, but we have signed a new lease on NW 23rd Ave. with developer CE John Company. The pub will be built in the exact same location on the block, only in the new building that is to replace our beloved pub."

According to Fechter, Lompoc has been in discussion with developer CE John Company for the last several years about building a new pub when the old one comes down. CE John will start in May on a new LEED Gold four-story, mixed-use building on the block with retail on the first floor, 24 apartment units above, and a state-of-the-art mechanized parking system tucked behind the retail space. The boutique-scaled project will open next summer.

"We love this old building and all the character it has, but the time has come to upgrade," said Fechter. "With the new pub, we will strive to create that great neighborhood pub vibe that we've been known for all these years."

"We are thrilled to have Lompoc return to the new building and continue serving the neighborhood as they have for many years," said Brian Greeley, Vice President of Leasing for CE John. "When you have the ability to keep a successful, local, beloved tenant on NW 23rd, you do what it takes to make that happen."

The new space will be a pub only, with all brewing operations shifting to the Lompoc Brewery at 3901 N Williams Ave. Lompoc will lose its patio space in the back, but will gain a large outdoor patio in the front of the building, with a portion of it covered and heated.

"We're actually very excited about being in a new, sustainably designed building and being a part of the many changes that are happening to the north end of 23rd Ave.," stated Fechter.

The Old Lompoc Brewery (as it was originally known) has been producing handcrafted ales and lagers since December 1996, while the tavern has been open since 1993. The New Old Lompoc opened on May 6th, 2000, under the new ownership of Jerry Fechter and Don Younger.

The final date for the existing New Old Lompoc pub - being referred to as the Lompocalypse - is April 28, but there will be a series of "end of days" activities and specials occurring that final week, beginning April 23.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Interview Series : Meet the Geek : Erika Huston

Erika Houston of Saraveza fame.
Name: Erika Huston, Beertender at Saraveza

Hometown: I was born in Eugene, OR and when I was 8-years-old my family moved to Veneta, OR (one mile from the Oregon Country Fairgrounds) and I moved to Beervana in 1993. I fondly refer to myself as a “Willamette Valley Girl”.

Favorite Beer: This is a very loaded question for me. I do not discriminate against any style of beer. I try to approach every new beer that I taste with a sense of wonder and diplomacy. The other reason this question is complicated for me is that every beer is linked to an experience. I guess I’d have to say that my favorite beer that I’ve had to date is the St. Lamvinus in Cantillon’s tasting room. I remember feeling that beer with all of my senses. Drinking a beer where it is actually made tends to really accentuate the experience for me.

Favorite Beer Haunt: I have many places that I enjoy drinking beer. I would prefer to answer the question what is your favorite scenario for drinking beer? I basically love to drink beer anywhere as long as I’m with friends and fellow-appreciators. I also very much enjoy turning anyone who considers themselves a “non-appreciator” on to a brew that matches their taste.

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Wow. I’m digging into the memory banks for this one. I think it was most likely a Pyramid Apricot Ale at the Waterfront Blues Festival that really got me excited about drinking beer. I remember thinking “This is beer?” because my comparisons were Blitz in a bottle and my dad’s Hamm’s and Old Milwaukie. I didn’t realize that it could actually taste like food and would actually give me some satiety.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: I just started home brewing and my favorite brew to date was a Belgian-style Dubbel. I brewed this beer specifically to drink on my birthday with some of my favorite people (both industry and non-industry) and it was very well received. There is no more satisfying feeling than hearing that your keg has been drained.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? I heard about you via the wonderfully engaging, Michael Umphress. I had served beer to Michael at Saraveza on a few occasions and we officially met at Bailey’s Taproom for their 4th Anniversary last summer.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? Well, I guess it means that you’re turned on by science and traditionally people into science are referred to as geeks. Geeks are normally perceived as being socially awkward so throw the beer in there as a social lubricant and you get a wonderful mix of highly intelligent creatures who are now allowed to wax-philosophic about their scientific creations.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? I don’t feel fully qualified to answer this question as I have really only been a part of beer culture in the Pacific Northwest. From talking with people from other parts of the country and who travel regularly, I gather that we are an anomaly of sorts. We are very lucky to have such a vital community and a local government who support the craft beer industry. I guess I would wish that other parts of our country could be allowed to benefit as much as we have. I think this is happening; it’s just a slower process due to dense populations, tighter government restrictions and economic challenges.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? What’s not to love? I think that the whole scene embodies love. Love of science, love of being human and love of life itself. I feel that beer is a living food created out of a need to connect with other human beings and I feel that Portland has been a shining example of this ideal.

Where can we find you on the web? I don’t have my own site or blog, but I’m on the dreaded Facebook (often times talking about or posting pictures of beer) and you can find my bottle cap jewelry for sale on Saraveza’s online store:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Craft beer continues to GROW!

Some great news from the folks at the Brewers Association

For the full press release from Brewer's Association, keep reading! 

OMISSION Beer: Gluten Free by Widmer!

Good news on the horizon for gluten-intolerant beer lovers! The growing trend of gluten free beers (New Planet in Colorado, Harvester in Portland, Green's in the UK) is now joined by hometown brewery Widmer!

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Coming Soon to Oregon
“Drinking is Believing”

PORTLAND, Ore. – March 26, 2012 – This spring, Craft Brew Alliance will launch Omission Beer, the first craft beer brand in the United States focused exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, that are specially crafted to be gluten-free. Omission beers are brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Ore., which uses a proprietary brewing process to reduce the gluten levels to well below the widely accepted international gluten-free standard of 20 parts per million (ppm) for food and beverages. (The international gluten-free standard was set forth by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which was created in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization.) Omission Beer is expected to release the first beers in its portfolio, which will be available only in Oregon, on April 2.

“Developing great-tasting, authentic craft beers that happen to be gluten-free was a personal mission for our brewmaster and me, and it’s a mission that our team really got behind. The launch of Omission Beer is a game changer for celiacs and the craft beer community,” said Terry Michaelson, CEO of Craft Brew Alliance. “As a 12-year celiac and longtime craft beer enthusiast, I’m thrilled to introduce two delicious craft beers that can be enjoyed equally by those who are affected by gluten sensitivities and those who are not.”

Unlike many other gluten-free beers currently available, Omission beers are not brewed with sorghum, rice, tapioca, buckwheat or quinoa; they are brewed using traditional beer ingredients: malted barley, hops, water and yeast. 

“Omission Beer has been a work in progress for the last six years,” said Joe Casey, brewmaster at Widmer Brothers Brewing. “My wife was diagnosed as a celiac in 2006, and since then, we’ve made it our mission to brew a great-tasting craft beer using traditional beer ingredients that everyone of legal drinking age could enjoy. After years of hard work, mission accomplished.” 

Gluten-Free Guarantee, Every Batch Tested:
Each batch of Omission Beer is tested by an independent lab to ensure that all Omission beers contain well below 20 ppm of gluten. Gluten levels in Omission beers are tested using the R5 competitive ELISA test. Beer will not be released to consumers until test results are received and after an extended quality assurance hold.

About Omission Beer
Omission Beer is a new brand of gluten-free craft beers, available only in Oregon. Brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing in Portland, Ore., Omission is the first craft beer brand in the United States focused exclusively on brewing great-tasting craft beers with traditional beer ingredients, including malted barley, that are specially crafted to be gluten-free. Each batch of Omission Beer is tested using the R5 competitive ELISA test to ensure that it contains gluten levels that are well below the international standard for gluten-free of 20 ppm. Drinking is believing. 

About Craft Brew Alliance
Craft Brew Alliance was formed with the merger of leading Pacific Northwest craft brewers Widmer Brothers Brewing and Redhook Ale Brewery in 2008. With an eye toward preserving and growing one-of-a-kind craft beers and brands, CBA was joined by Kona Brewing Company in 2010. For more information about CBA, visit

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What are YOU looking forward to?

It's always fun to get notes from local bottle shops and purveyors of great selections... Earlier, this arrived in our #pdxbeergeek mail - 

Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura oak aged Belgian stout

Unibroue Grand Reserve 17 aged in French oak.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo--16 oz cans!

These are the latest arrivals at one of our neighborhood grocers - Beaumont Market, where our pal Justin Nesbitt keeps good things in the cold case. 

What new arrivals are you looking forward to? 

What are your favorite places to stay on top of the new beers in town? 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Churchkey Can Co. revives flat top cans!

The Original Flat Top Steel Beer Can - Churchkey Can Co. (photo courtesy of Churchkey Can Co. 2012)

Because It’s Worth the Effort: Churchkey Can Co. Revives the Original Flat Top Steel Beer Can
Join us in an ode to the past as Churchkey Can Co. brings you the most original beer experience you have ever had – a quality craft beer in the original flat top can 

PACIFIC NORTHWEST – (March 21, 2012) – Back to simple times with simple tools that change an interaction into an experience. For the first time in nearly 50 years, craft beer lovers in Seattle and Portland can once again experience beer from the original flat top can. Offering a unique, handcrafted Pilsner-style beer in authentic 12-ounce steel cans, Churchkey Can Co. – a new craft beer-can company based in the Pacific Northwest – is on a mission to offer this forgotten beer experience once again.

“We are here to bring you a beer we are proud of, in a can we are honored to share,” said Co-founder and Creative Director Justin Hawkins. “It’s about the joy of drinking good beer – from the people you drink it with to where you drink it and, now, how you open it. We didn't make these traditions, but are keeping them alive with Churchkey.”

Co-founded by Portland-native Justin Hawkins and actor Adrian Grenier, Churchkey Can Co. began as the desire to someday experience a great beer in a simple can as the generations before had. Quickly realizing the flat top can – introduced in 1935 and a standard in the beer industry until the pull-tab came to market in the mid-1960s – was all but a memory, Hawkins and Grenier set the wheels in motion to found Churchkey Can Co.

Churchkey Can Co... Tools required! (photo courtesy of Churchkey Can Co 2012)

To get the flat top can just right, Churchkey turned to the Ball Corporation, the largest supplier of beer cans in the world and a company that played a key role in the evolution of the beer can. Made from highly recyclable steel, protecting the beer from both light and oxygen, the Churchkey flat top can provides an airtight seal and must be opened with a churchkey. This opener, which obtains its name from its similarity in style to the large old fashion keys formerly used to open a church, is used to punch two small triangular holes into the top of the can allowing for aeration and pouring of the beer.  

Inside each can, craft beer lovers will find a delicious Pacific Northwest-brewed Pilsner-style craft beer. The recipe for which was originated by Portland-based home brewers Lucas Jones and Sean Burke – who have been crafting home brewed beer in their garages for many years, and are passionate about their beer and the community they cultivate with it – the Churchkey Pilsner is made using only the highest quality ingredients. The body of the beer comes from the light, grainy pilsner malt taste, accented by a smooth clean bitterness. The Saaz hop taste and aroma featured in the Churchkey Pilsner make for a uniquely complex, yet sessionable beer at 4.9 percent ABV and a 29 IBU.

To bring the beer to market, Churchkey Can Co. turned to Joel VandenBrink, a skilled craft brewer based out of Seattle. Head brewer at Two Beers Brewing Co, the first Washington brewery to produce 12-ounce cans, VandenBrink and his team embody the Churchkey philosophy. They love what they do and work hard to bring true craft beer to their community. As part of this unique partnership and friendship, Churchkey Can Co. works together with Two Beers Brewing to produce and package its Churchkey Pilsner.

Beginning April 15, Churchkey Can Co. Pilsner can be found at a variety of retailers and drinking establishments throughout Seattle and Portland, available for $9.99 per six-pack – with a churchkey opener included – and between $3-$5 at bars and restaurants. For a full list of bars, restaurants and retailers carrying Churchkey cans, visit (Our #pdxbeergeeks senses tell us that the previous launch date of April 1 has been exceeded! It's live, now!).

Stay tuned for more information about 
a Portland Launch Party for Churchkey Can Co : Thursday, April 5 at Dig A Pony 
- details forthcoming! 

About Churchkey Can Co.
Launching in April 2012, Pacific Northwest-based Churchkey Can Co is a new craft beer-can company on a mission to reintroduce beer lovers to the original flat top steel can. For the first time in 50 years, Churchkey Can Company offers this forgotten beer experience once again. Because in the tradition of the great men and women before us, we know it’s worth the effort. Follow Churchkey Can Co on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, visit

** Thanks to Caitlin Braam of Churchkey Can Co.  for sending over this update! **

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy 26th Birthday Ruby!

Who would have guessed back on March 21, 1986 that extract batch #67 would turn out to be the Ruby Ale we know today? Twenty-six years later and now made with all grain, it has become a regular in the line up for McMenamins. So if you are out and about by one of their many location, stop in and enjoy some great specials to celebrate this occasion.

• Pints of Ruby for $2.50 (all locations)
• Bottles to go of Ruby for $4.50 (Oregon only)
• 20% off all Ruby merchandise at Hotel gift shops & Hillsdale Pub will have $15 Ruby shirts.
• Ruby-Marinated Chicken Sandwich w/ Herbed Goat Cheese and served with choice of side and a pint of Ruby $12 (without pint, $9.50)
• 15% off all treatments 3/21/12 only at Ruby’s Spas at Edgefield and Grand Lodge; just say “Happy birthday, Ruby!” when making your appointment
• Fun contests and giveaways all day on the main McMenamins FB page, as well as individual pub pages

The Royal Ruby of McMenamin (Imperial Ruby) is going to be pouring tomorrow at Ringlers and Zeus Cafe as well as being featured at this release event in Lola's.

Also Oak Hills brewer Tony Balzola has prepared a special Vanilla Ruby for limited release.

One of our most popular standards, we still make Ruby with the same aims we had when brewing the first batch back in March 1986: To create an ale light, crisp and refreshingly fruity. Great Western Premium 2-row and 42 pounds of Oregon-grown and processed raspberry puree is used to craft every colorful batch. Simple but delicious. Taste the original!

Malts: Premium 2-row Malt
Hops: Vary
Fruit: Raspberries

Original Gravity: 1.038
Terminal Gravity: 1.005
Alcohol by Volume: 4.39%
Calories: 170 per pint

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Interview Series : Meet the Geek : Mindy Humphrey of Mindys Beer Gear

Mindy of Mindy's Beer Gear enjoying a pint
Name: Mindy Humphrey

Hometown: Vancouver, WA

Favorite Beer: Breakside's Belgian White IPA

Favorite Beer Haunt: Breakside

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? Tatonka Stout from BJ's in Brea, CA

What did you think? There's more than Guinness out there!

Do you homebrew?

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks?
It was trending.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? I refuse to make Coors, Bud, and Miller beer gear, therefore I am a beer geek.

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? Convince those who believe they don't like the taste of craft beer that they just haven't had the right one.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene?
That it's not a big beer competition between the breweries. It's a community of collaboration and support which nurtures better beer.

Where can we find you on the web?
Mindy Humphrey
Mindy's Beer Gear
Twitter: @MindysBeerGear

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cascade Barrel House Blueberry Release

This has been a highly anticipated release from Cascade Barrel House. I would expect these bottles to go pretty quick. Certainly an event not to miss! 

From Press Release - It's here! The release of Blueberry in bottles will be this Thursday, March 22 at 4:30 PM. The blenders will be on hand at "Blue Thursday" to answer questions, and we'll also have a 1/4 bbl of the original 2010 Blueberry on tap for comparison, plus a little of the Shrieking Violet. The 2011 Blueberry is a blend of wheat and blond ales that were aged in oak barrels for up to 12 months before aging on fresh blueberries for an additional three months. Bottles sell for $17 and are available at the Barrel House, the Raccoon Lodge and online.

Our Blue Thursday event will feature food specials as well, including a lovely Blueberry Spring Salad, a spring mix tossed in our tart blueberry sourgrette with dried blueberries, dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts & red onion, topped with crumbled goat cheese ($5, add smoked chicken for $2). We'll also be serving Barrel House Blueberry Blintz, a handcrafted cheese & dried blueberry filled blintz topped with fresh blueberry/blueberry sour beer sauce, chopped banana & a dust of powdered sugar ($3).

Friday, March 16, 2012

Widmer Experimental IPAs On Tap at Gasthaus!

Ooooh. New riffs and experimental IPAs from Widmer! 

From Widmer's Brady Walen - "Using the same base recipe as last year’s popular X-114 Rotator IPA, our brewing team recently brewed four experimental IPAs to showcase the unique qualities of four different experimental hop varieties.  All four of these X-IPAs went on draught at the Gasthaus (Thursday, March 15).  They are available as a flight of four or as single pints, and we’re asking guests to vote for their favorites.  Here’s the lineup: 

X-430 IPA
A more approachable and mellow IPA, hop 430 has floral, tea like aromas. Flavors of tropical fruit compliment the soft citrus and floral aromas, and are balanced by subtle malt sweetness.  Enjoy the mellow side of IPA. 6.1% ABV, 40 IBU

X-431 IPA
Hop 431 has a pungent piney, resinous aroma. Notes of grapefruit and lemon-like citrus are apparent, and dominate the flavor and aroma of this beer – but the subtle malt sweetness helps balance the hop profile of X-431. 5.9% ABV, 35 IBU

X-443 IPA
X-443 IPA is a classic example of the IPA style. Hop 443 has a nice floral and citrus aroma. Notes of sweet citrus-like mandarin orange and tangerines work wonderfully with a perfect malt balance to deliver a smooth and flavorful finish. 6.1% ABV, 43 IBU

X-467 IPA
X-467 adds spicy lemon and tart citrus qualities to this IPA. Once added to beer it sweetens up and produces tropical, pineapple-like flavors and aromas that combine with just enough malt to balance out an assertive finish. 6.1% ABV, 47 IBU

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Interview Series : Meet the Geek : @CaptainNeon

I'm proud to announce I recently had an opportunity to chat with the voice of McMenamin's @CaptainNeon on theTwitters. After much coercing I was finally able to get the official Twitter feed of The Kingdom to step up and do our "Meet the Geeks" series. @CaptainNeon has become one of my favorite Twitter personas to follow based on the high level of interactivity and willingness to go above and beyond to answer questions/demands, and assist with locating limited run beer releases. (As mentioned below) 

Beer Atoms Troy Dockins designed for the Lighthouse Brew Festival
Name: Twitter's @CaptainNeon (online Twitter stream of McMenamins Breweries)

Hometown: Portland, Oregon (63.8 Nautical Miles from the Pacific Ocean.)

Favorite Beer: Black Widow poured via nitro-tap is a current favorite. Love that beer. The Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin is beautiful piece of work. For personal reasons involving a lost companion Black Lab Stout will always have a certain hold on my heart. The Cavatica coming out of Fort George is really solid - every time I drink it it really rocks my boat. But there you start to sense the problem of focus: Currently it's only on the porters and stouts, any number of favorites of which I realize have been omitted just one sentence removed. In a few fortnights winds will shift warmer. It will be like 90 degrees out and the flaws in my beer listing logic will become apparent when I'd gladly trade my treasured black gold for a holds worth of Vienna-style lagers, regionally produced bitters and smooth pales complimented with a plethora of pilsners. So much compass tuning is needed when addressing the old "one beer to rule them all" question it often appears an exercise in futility.

Favorite Beer Haunt: C'mon, need there be only one answer to these? There are so many fantastic places to hang out in for beers now, it really just depends on what kind of vibe you are going after. Any establishment of higher drinking with outdoor seating in close proximity to a river or ocean is always gonna grab my eye. I get itchy if I can't sense a body of moving water nearby. Seagulls and/or fishermen cussing are a huge plus. Sipping a rum barrel-aged porter next to a fire pit under the stars on a cold, clear night sounds sublime. I love open rooftop bars at sunset but they blow bad if caught in a squall. Maybe you'd know, does anyone serve ale conditioned in actual toasted coconuts yet? That would be cool, especially if they were poured fresh out of the shell from the bartop. I'll have to look into that...

What was the first craft brew you ever tried? What did you think? Wow. Well admittedly that was a really long time ago. Cartwright wasn't on my radar then and strangely enough I thought first of Smith & Reilly, but I don't think that would count as a "craft beer" per se. Can't recall much about them but S&R was one of the first examples I encountered of a regionally produced beer that seemed to try to do something a little different. Like a lot of folks in these parts the real answer to this question probably lies with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or straight up Anchor Steam. Both inspirational, floral, exciting, innovative beers. They didn't seem as revelatory or earth shattering as one might think looking back in time. It was more like a 'this is awesome in every way, and an example of the type of beer we should be making around here' kind of reaction.

But here's the thing, that's not the whole story. I grew up within a bowshot of the old Burlingame Market which had probably the best selection of imported beers in Portland at the time. These days we are all pretty spoiled and take the huge variety presented at the local grocery stores or the fine-tuned curation of places like Beer Mongers or Belmont Station as our given right. Shelf space wasn't always this way. Anyway, before the joint burned down Burlingame Market had this cavernous Adult Beverage Grotto that took up much of the back of the store. The heart of this grotto was walls and coolers brimming with exotic beer. The original Stingo, Optimator, Leopard, Ur-Bock Hell, Bass Ale, Watneys Red Barrel, Aass Bock, Oranjeboom, Cooper Lager, Tooth's Sheaf Stout, a bunch of unaffordable Belgian bottles that had caged champagne corks poked in them. Every visit was like an Easter egg hunt except with beer. Any imaginable brand you could think of. An eye-popping education for the budding beer enthusiast in the late 70's, early 80's freshly weaned off Powers Park keggers and cans of red or blue up on Council Crest. A real paradigm shift. There were so many great examples of beers across such a wide variety of styles. That early fascination with the imports nurtured by places like Burlingame Market put into motion the the deep-water detonation that was in store a few years later when the 'craft beer' revolution really blew up out here. The possibilities were understood because the examples were out there if you took the time and put in the effort to find and research them. 'Research' of course meaning drinking fathoms of new and exotic beers, the questions of reverse engineering their respective forms coming later. It wasn't a tough sell in retrospect.

So when I did taste Sierra Nevada the first time it was like 'well, it's about freaking time….' The beer had that same mystery and intrigue of the import, but just seemed so much more fresh, vibrant and alive.

Do you homebrew? If yes, favorite homebrew to date: Well I was working for Mike and Brian McMenamin, slinging across the bar-top early versions of local micros like Hammerhead, Widmer Alt and Spring Draught from Bridgeport. Those three were all real game changers for me early on. This led to an increasing curiosity about the beer making process and led to Charlie's book and then a more detailed book by Greg Noonan. The books got me fired-up to start homebrewing with some friends, probably just like many who've found their way into the craft beer business. I made the pilgrimage to the original FH Steinbarts. The seas parted and a ton of my tip money disappeared for homebrew supplies. We made among other things extract beer, all-grain beer even a hard cider using this old wooden hand press to crush apples that looked and operated more like some medieval device designed for the enforcement of excruciating torture. I don't homebrew anymore, but it was definitely a primary catalyst for the career path I ended up following.

How’d you hear about the pdxbeergeeks? It was the strangest damn thing, there was a fellow who followed us on Twitter whose Avatar wore these lime-green Bootsy Collins shades. He would immediately surface and demand very specific information any time I posted something relating to barrel-aged ales or the gigantic fruit beers produced at one of our locations on the @CaptainNeon feed. After a few friendly exchanges he keelhauled me for not 'following' him back -- an unintentional slight based on my deck-hand level understanding of that particular nuance of social media. Over time I found it curious that his tweets started including the hashtag #pdxbeergeeks. So I figured might as well sign up for that feed as well. Well come to find out, there was a direct connection between the Avatar with the green Bootsy Collins glasses and one of the founders of #pdxbeergeeks. It was a good discovery, because their mission is worthy.

What does being a beer geek mean to you? The more salient point than what being a 'beer geek' means to me is what being a beer geek means to all of us. Us beer geeks have shaped the current state of craft-beer culture as much as the craft beer culture has shaped us. It's a reciprocal relationship. There's no doubt that beer geeks will continue to put their stamp on the conversation as it moves forward. Which is all good. (Also, for the record, the last two answers reflect the most times I've ever used the word 'geek' or any derivative thereof in in a five minute span in my entire life).

If you could change one thing about beer culture in the US, what would it be? After all these years you'd think I'd get over it but I'm still chafed by the lowbrow, buffonish image of the 'beer drinker' so often perpetuated by the largest commercial brewing brands via their various advertising strategies. No doubt it must work or they wouldn't do it. Lowest common denominator, I get it. But I don't have to like it.

What do you love about Portland’s Craft Beer scene? You have to love a town where people of all ilk care enough to create a 'craft-beer scene' with this kind of vitality to begin with. You have to love that so many people make beer, think about beer, write about beer, argue about beer, and, most of all, drink beer more often as philosophers and less often as Philistines. You have to love that beer is part of the civic dialogue and is very truly respected here. I mean you could go a lot of different directions answering this question. But when you boil it right down to this basic essence what's not to love?

Where can we find you on the web:
Twitter: @CaptainNeon
McMenamins Online

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Widmer Brothers Trying Something Different - Oatmeal Porter

Doug Rehberg, Widmer's senior manager of brewing operations
I remember a time when Widmer was only available as a tap selection at finer pubs in the Pacific Northwest. (Insert back in my day comment here.) Now after several years of expansions and creating a solid base it allows them the luxury to experiment with different styles. This is evident in the newest 924 series release of an Oatmeal Porter to the line up. 

I had the privilege to test drive the latest release this week at Irving Street Kitchen at a hosted media event from Widmer.  The porter wasn't quite what I expected. Instead of being rich and creamy, it was crisp and sweet. Still a pleasant and solid beer from the brothers. It's already making appearances at bottle shops around town. Certainly try it while you can, it is a limited release! Special thanks to Widmer for hosting an excellent event, and inviting the #pdxbeergeeks to be part of it.

Widmer's Oatmeal Porter
Now the official release notes.

Expands Series 924 With First of Three Limited-Release Beer

From Press Release - PORTLAND, Ore. – Feb. 28, 2012 Widmer Brothers Brewing is expanding its Series 924 with the introduction of Oatmeal Porter, the first of three limited-release Series 924 beers that will be unveiled in 2012. Joining the two year-round Series 924 offerings, Pitch Black IPA and Nelson Imperial IPA, this rich porter was brewed with custom-toasted oats made specifically for Widmer Brothers by Briess Malting of Chilton, Wis. The oats, which have appropriately been dubbed “Bro-Oats,” contribute to the beer’s velvety mouth feel and distinct nutty flavors. Hints of caramel and toffee give this brew a touch of sweetness, complemented by mocha aromas and a smooth finish. Oatmeal Porter is now available in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles, in 22-ounce bottles and on draught nationwide.

“Oatmeal Porter is a great addition to Series 924, as it really adds balance to Nelson Imperial and Pitch Black as part of the series,” said Ben Dobler, a Widmer Brothers brewer. “We loved the idea of brewing a beer with a custom-roasted oat blend, but rather than brew the more popular oatmeal stout style, we wanted something a little different – and Oatmeal Porter turned out great.”

About Oatmeal Porter:
• Malts: Pale, Bro-Oats, Munich 20L, Dark Chocolate, Special Roast
• Hops: Alchemy and Cascade

• Original Gravity: 14.2 P
• Apparent Extract: 3.2 P
• IBU: 27
• ABV: 6%
• Color: 60 SRM