Behind The Pint: Goose Island Brewmaster Greg Hall

Yesterday "SNOB" Ritch and I were invited to a Meet and Greet with Goose Island Brewmaster Greg Hall, who was making the rounds in Portland.
It was a lavish affair with all-you-can-drink Goose Island beers including Sophie, Pere Jacques and Matilda. I had only had the Matilda before, which I enjoy quite a bit, but the Sofie was the real standout, a farmhouse ale fermented with wild yeasts and wine barrel aged.
Fantastic appetizer pairings were served, including Salmon and Tarragon Mouse in Phyllo Cups, Roaring Forties Bleu Cheese, Black Grape and Artichoke, and Camembert with Bruleed Cantaloupe on Puff Pastry, as well as a few more offerings, all of which paired extremely well.

The highlight of the evening, though, was getting the chance to interview the well-spoken Goose Island Brewmaster Greg Hall.

The Weekly Taps: April 29th-May 2nd

If you're not familiar, The Weekly Taps is the semi-weekly column that compiles all of the NEW (or at least) rare new draft beers on tap around Portland, when to get them and where. In Portland there is always something new pouring, and most of these beers fly under the radar without any hype. Personally, these are the sorts of beers I love seeking out, so I thought I would compile them here each week for others with the same love of trying new things.

Hair Of The Dog/Deschutes Collaboration Barrel-Aged Blend

This Monday I received some reliable information that Hair Of The Dog and Deschutes had in fact collaborated on a new beer that had already been brewed in Bend, OR.

Before posting this information I decided to contact both Deschutes and Alan Sprints of HOTD for comment. Alan asked me NOT to post anything about it, but apparently they have changed their mind, figuring the info was going to come out anyway.

There Will Be No Milk Served To Your Baby In The New School

With the crazed inflection of
Jerry Seinfeld yelling "what's the deal with?!" I ask, What's the deal with all the kids in bars these days? Back in the day, it didn't seem to be the norm for the drinking, cursing, yelling, and carrying on of sailors, bikers, construction workers, and chefs to be punctuated by the incessant wailings of junior in his car seat on the floor. Mind you, there are places that can somehow pull it off and be family friendly and remain a place where babies and bikers co-mingle harmoniously. I find it weird, but it mostly works at places like HUB, Laurelwood and the Lucky Labradors.

It also seems like a bomb waiting to go off.

Anchor Brewing releases Humming Ale

After news of the sale of legendary Anchor Brewing Company on Monday, I posted that I hope Anchor might actually release some new beers now. Looks like I was right on the money, as Anchor has announced a new bottled beer called Humming Ale.

A Guide to the 2010 Cheers To Belgian Beers Fest

This Saturday is the 4th annual Cheers To Belgian Beers festival in Portland, OR.
It is a very unique festival in that only Oregon breweries are allowed to participate, and each is tasked with brewing a beer with a single Belgian yeast strain. A winner is declared each year based on a "People's Choice" vote. The festival also benefits a different charity each year, chosen by the winning brewery. The winning brewery also gets to select which Wyeast Belgian strain will be used by competitors the next year, and is also tasked with hosting the next year's festival.

In four years the fest has moved from Rock Bottom's balcony to Roots Organic Brewing to the Lucky Lab Beer Hall on NW Quimby and this year to Hopworks Urban Brewery's rear parking lot.

This post will explore the unique yeast strain, the full beer list, and the breweries participating in the festival, and will hopefully function as a guide to what to look for and what to expect this Saturday.

Behind The Pint: Quentin Falconer

Glen Falconer toasting with his craft brewed beer at the Wild Duck Brewery.

Last month on March 26th I wrote about the Glen Hay Falconer Foundation, and in particular their Sasquatch Legacy Project beer produced each year to help fund the non-profit for the advancement of brewing education. Our videographer/photographer "SNOB" Ritch Marvin attended the release and got a great video interview with Quentin Falconer, brother of the late Glen Falconer, that is posted below for our new video series "Behind The Pint".
If you dont already know, Glen Hay Falconer was a beloved brewer from Eugene, OR known for his big personality and for his big beers.

Anchor Brewing Sold!

Breaking news today is that San Francisco's famed brewing pioneer Anchor Brewing - maker of Anchor Steam - has been sold to The Griffin Group, based in Novato, CA. The Griffin Group is an investing and consulting company that has been focusing on primarily alcohol beverage industry properties.

The press release puts emphasis on keeping the Anchor brands alive for generations without any hint of ensuing changes. The legendary owner and brewer of Anchor Brewing, Frederick Louis "Fritz" Maytag III, is staying on as the Chairman Emeritus of Anchor Brewers & Distillers. Mr. Maytag recently collaborated with Sierra Nevada on their 30th Anniversary Imperial Stout that we talked about here.

Anchor also owns the spirit brands Old Potrero Whiskey, Junipero Gin, and Genevieve Gin, and controls Preiss Imports and BrewDog USA, the stateside division of the Scottish extreme brewery. All of these properties are a part of the acquisition that forms Anchor Brewers & Distillers.

No word yet, but I wonder why Fritz opted to sell Anchor, considering the brewery has been around since 1896 and was bought in 1965 by Maytag. Fritz and Anchor pioneered the resurgence of Steam Beers, Porters, and Barleywines, and even make the classic example of a Winter/Holiday ale in their Our Special Ale.

Twitter Button from

New Brew Odyssey: You Have to Try This Beer!

I now know what June, July, and August hold for me. In part, the (mostly) summery weather of the past two days has me thinking about that wonderful season when the entire city become a giant bike playground. Just as important, I discovered my go-to brew for summer 2010.
Two new beers in the Lips of Faith series from New Belgium Brewing arrived in Portland in the last week—a Belgian-style blonde (which style geeks will note is technically a strong golden due to its 8.5% ABV), and Eric’s Ale, a blended sour peach beer. The latter is especially outstanding and re-demonstrates New Belgium’s mastery and skill with wild yeasts and bacteria.

Sunday is Toby Day, Day

I posted a blog entry on April 5th about the passing of well liked NW beer rep Toby Day, a passionate advocate for Organic beer, imports and Anderson Valley Brewing among others. It came as a shock to most of us who knew him because we had no idea he was sick.
It comes as no shock however that the Portland and larger beer community will honor him this Sunday for Toby Day Day at various bars from California to Washington with proceeds to support his children.
“Our industry, the beer community, Toby’s family and friends have just lost a very special individual. I lost a friend.” Said AVBC Sales Director Ron Ziomek.

Your Guide to APEX a Portland Bar

Yesterday the highly anticipated APEX beer bar opened its doors to the thirsty masses without warning. Well, without warning except for my dramatic twitter announcement.
It should be noted that I am now officially a part-time employee of APEX, so my tone here will reflect that. This will be an insiders perspective and guide to what to expect from APEX. However, I don't speak for the establishment in any way.
Apex is located at SE 12th and Division, across from The Beermongers.

Cheese/Beer/Life: Dumb Luck

In many respects, nostalgia has gotten the better of me over the past few weeks. Beer and cheese, being so central to my daily routine, were no exception. The pairings I chose this week stemmed not so much from prior experience, but rather from fond memories of my early beer and cheese days.

I remember walking into a liquor store in Massachusetts just after I had turned twenty-one – this was about four years ago. A representative from a local distributor was pouring samples into these fabulous stemmed pilsner glasses. The bases of the glasses were embossed around their rim with the same name finely etched into the glass’ tall thin walls: Pilsner Urquell. This was my first taste of a Czech Pilsner and, truth be told, I didn’t instantly fall in love with the style, though I did enjoy it! I think the beautiful glass holding a beer with a crystalline Champagne-like appearance really stuck in my mind.

The Weekly Taps: April 22nd-25th

As a beer geek, I am always on the lookout for the newest creations from brewers. It's a lot of work to keep up with these things. Thusly, I decided to create a semi-weekly column about the newest draft beers available around Portland called The Weekly Taps.

I am going to focus strictly on new or rare beers that are only available on draft. Our friends at Taplister, who also make it their life's work to keep up with what's available on draft, are helping us spread the word.

If you are a bar, brewery, restaurant, etc. and would like your beers listed, please email me at

The World's Most Expensive Beer

I just received an interesting press release touting the world's most expensive beer. Curiously, Jeff Alworth of Beervana has a post up about how to hook us beer writers in your press releases. I wonder where this one would land, in the good or bad? I loathe the press release, but am hooked regardless. Just take a look at the release's headline:

Weyermann® Malt_The most expensive beer of the world is made with Weyermann® Malt!

I don't care about the most expensive beer, yet I do at the same time; when a beer is being advertised simply for how much it costs, I think we have possibly reached a new low in the craft beer market. When a malting company like Weyermann advertises that its malts are used in the most expensive beer ever, that is yet another new low. The entire press release is simply bragging about how much the beer costs, and includes very little about the beer itself. By the way, the world's most expensive beer is named Vintage 3, costs $360 and is made by the Danish company Carlsberg-Jacobsen Brewery.

Staggering Toward Berhalla: I'm The New Middle School

For my birthday last weekend, my girlfriend, Amy, a bunch of my friends, and I, went to Stevenson, Washington, home of Walking Man Brewing. We got in a bunch of hot tubbing, with many trips to Walking Man to refill growlers, while BBQing and playing dominoes and cards on the Columbia River.

New Brew Odyssey: Smoke Spice and Everything Nice

Recently, I have been drinking a lot of Scandinavian beer. This is not a coincidence, and it is definitely not a function of being fatigued by American craft beers. I had to do it for work. Tough life, I know.
Yetta Vorobik, the owner of North Portland’s The Hop and Vine, asked me to teach an Oregon Beer Odyssey class on Scandinavian craft beers. Knowing that this was not my area of beer expertise, I agreed with a little hesitation and a lot of enthusiasm for now being ‘forced’ to taste many of beers that had long interested me but that I had passed on for safer choices from nearer brewhouses.
Over the last two months, my co-worker Rob Bosworth and I dove in head first to these brews. This week, I thought I’d share a little of what we’ve learned about them.

Introducing Breakside Brewing Co.

NE Dekum is a quiet Portland neighborhood that you may have never discovered if not for the corner of 8th and Dekum, where a few great restaurants have popped up on this intersection otherwise surrounded by homes and families. I may have never made it out to Breakside if it was not conveniently located on Tri-Met's 75 line. Perhaps the corner is best known for the Firehouse restaurant or the Good Neighbor Pizzeria, but I imagine Breakside Brewing may really put this neighborhood on the map.

View Larger Map

Over the last 2 weeks I have become acquainted with co-owner Scott Lawrence, as well as Head Brewer Ben Edmunds, who we know well from his New Brew Odyssey column on this here blog.
I also got to meet co-owner and brewer Tony Petraglia, and already know the 3rd brewer Shawn "Wonton" who has been assisting over at Upright Brewing for a while now.
I even got to check out their pub and brewery and sample test batches of their Chamomile-infused Wit beer, which I quite enjoyed and imagine will make for an amazing summer beer. All the while, neighbors were stopping by to check out the space as they walked their dogs and baby strollers down the street. It was clear that the locals are eager to adopt Breakside as their own, and that is something that Scott Lawrence has clearly embraced in his vision for the pub.

I got Scott and Ben Edmunds to sit down and take turns answering my questions about the future of the brewpub:

Review Panel: Firestone Walker Solace

Recently Firestone Walker of Pasa Robles, CA won the 2010 World Beer Cup award for best Mid-Size Brewery and Brewmaster as they have before in 03 and 07. They are certainly not a brewery to be trifled with and by anyones standards one of the best breweries in America.
Now they have tried something new and moving away from the Pale Ales and Barrel-Aged beers they are known for and releasing their first ever bottled seasonal beer, Solace a so called Fusion Wheat Beer. Really it is a bit of a blend of a Belgian Saison/Farmhouse Ale and a Hefeweizen.

Too Many Parties

Portland, OR is a city of many parties and events and there is never a shortage of things to do. Sometimes, actually many times there are even too many beer related things to do in one day. That is pretty common in the summer time and especially July during Oregon Craft Beer Month but summer has came early because today Saturday the 17th is way beyond overloaded with 4 major beer events. Atleast 3 of them are worth your time, let me give you the rundown on each of them...

Cheese/Beer/Life: Fruit, Spice and Everything Nice

My homebrewing hobby (read: obsession) has carved my path regarding this week’s beer and cheese pairings. A month and a half ago I collaborated on a homebrew with SNOB Ritch for the Cheers to Belgian Beers homebrewing competition. For those unfamiliar, the event entails local brewers creating beers of different colors and strengths (determined by a dart throw at the Horse Brass Pub) using the identical Belgian yeast strain (this strain is chosen by the winner from the previous year, who also hosts the event). In early May, the beers are all served alongside one another to the public, as well as a panel of judges. Homebrewers are also invited to compete against one another using the same yeast strain. Ritch and I chose to brew an Abbey Tripel using some American hops. As the event approaches and our beer nears completion, my craving for tripels has been building.

For those unfamiliar with this style, a tripel is a strong and pale style of Belgian beer. Generally, triples exhibit marked esters and phenols and they are considered one of the more complex styles of beer. Also, as with many Belgian beers, tripels are noteworthy for their high carbonation level that is generated with natural bottle conditioning. These are beers that are very attractive when fresh, though I’ve had a number of aged versions that proved the style’s ability to cellar with interesting results. Some familiar examples of this style include Chimay White, Tripel Karmeliet, De Dolle Dulle Teve and Victory Golden Monkey (and, of course, the specimens I’ve chosen for this week’s tasting – stay tuned!).

Behind The Pint: Beer O' Clock

Behind The Pint is a new video series debuting on The New School. Each video feature is filmed by contributor "SNOB" Ritch Marvin, whose photo graces the bottom right sidebar of the blog. Ritch also produced the opening titles. We are working on many more features focusing on interviews and tours with up-and-coming brewers and places. The first of these debuting is just a live film of our recent radio segment.

Last Saturday Lisa Morrison, aka the Beer Goddess, had the New School crew including myself on her great Beer O'Clock radio show on KXL. "SNOB" Ritch Marvin, King C, "Swine-Flu" Jimmy and myself all made it to the studio to film a short segment covering the goals of The New School and each of our individual columns. Beer O' Clock airs every Saturday at 3 to 4pm on KXL (750 AM) and you can listen to podcasts of the episodes here.
Special thanks to Lisa for having us on the show.

The Confucian Brewer gets a New Gig

(Photo from The Oregonian archives)

This just in, friend of the New School and award winning Brewer Corey Blodgett the Confucian Brewer has a new gig after being out of work for a bit after leaving his Head Brewing gig at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse to move to McMenamins St. Francis School, and then getting laid off.

(Mingus and Monk fermenting in Pinot Barrels at Upright Brewing)

Recently Corey came over to Upright Brewing to collaborate on their forthcoming Cheers To Belgian Beers entry "Mingus and Monk", a Belgian dark strong farmhouse ale. Recently that brew was put into just-emptied Pinot barrels over a couple of pounds of currants that had been simmered with a bottle of Port, where it underwent a secondary fermentation with the added sugars. Look for this brew on May 1st at the CTBB at Hopworks, and maybe sooner than that at the Upright Tasting Room...

Behave Like The Old School, In The New School

First off, let me start by saying that the problem customers I'm about to complain about probably aren't you. I'm a really lucky guy who has been able to be behind some really fine bars, filled with top-notch, respectful customers, many of whom I am fortunate to consider friends outside of the confines of the bar. That said, over the years it has astounded me the depths of idiocy some people dwell in. I'm often completely tongue tied at the ridiculous shit spewed from the drooling lips of people who would seem to have never even attempted to make a transaction at a bar or a restaurant, ever, not even once, in their lives.

These fools who I am referring to do not appear to be a more human-looking offspring of Sasquatch, nor boys raised by wolves, or other uncivilized fringe humanoids. They look normal, like you or I, seem to speak the the same language I do, and range in age from twenty-one to one-foot-in-the-grave-and-covered-with-dust ancients. They seem to be from all over the country, and not some particular area. Bottom line is that these douchebags ruin a server or a bartender's night quicker than you can knock over your pint of beer, shattering a million fine ice-like shards of glass into my freshly stocked ice well. These evil spirits test the meddle of even the most calm, cool and collected of people and run the risk of making happy, cheerful workers into angry, rage-filled, revenge-driven sociopaths.

New Brew Odyssey: The Rise of Uruk

Late last week, as many of this blog’s readers will already know, Gilgamesh Brewing’s Black Mamba won the People’s Choice Award at the 2010 Spring Beer and Wine Fest. The victory is a boon to Gilgamesh, a startup brewery out of Turner, Oregon. It is also notable that Black Mamba wrested the award from reigning champion Astoria Brewing, whose tongue-bruising double IPA Bitter Bitch had won the award three years running.
Beyond the fact that Black Mamba is an excellent beer, I intuit some mild sea change here. Black Mamba is an unhopped beer. Indeed, it is Bitter Bitch’s diametric opposite, at least in terms of hops. Of all the nascent trends in craft brewing right now, the rise of flavorful, low- and unhopped beers is one of the most intriguing.

Bacon and Beer Festival

Now this is a Beer Festival I can get behind! 

When I first heard about the concept of this festival I worried it would be a novelty event. It does seem like Bacon is popping up more and more in different products like candy and vodka.

But no this is no joke, the Boston Bacon & Beer Festival is truly a festival that Portland should be jealous of, perhaps the drawback of a high population of vegetarians and vegans (not that there is anything wrong with that) is lack of pairings of meats and beer. Cheese is a common pairing with Wine though we would make the argument its better with beer as our Cheese/Beer/Life column will inform you, still most people believe the opposite. The foods that are known to be paired with beer are more often things like pizza and german sausages. Both of which are pork products just like Bacon. 

Let me submit that Bacon should be the true pairing with Beer and be more widely known for it, let it be the beer world's Cheese.
Many others must be thinking the same thing as me, just take a look...

World Beer Cup 2010 Winners Announced!

Last night the Craft Brewers Conference held in Chicago this year held their annual Brewers Dinner and announced the 2010 World Beer Cup Winners. There were more breweries in attendance this year than any other. The World Beer Cup is a Bi-Annual competition held by the Brewers Association, said to be the largest beer competition in the world. One of the unique things about this competition different then say the GABF is that it is an international competition open to brewers from all over the world. Some people consider the World Beer Cup to be the serious more serious beer competition without the hoopla of the much more public Great American Beer Festival. According to the Wold Beer Cup website:
This year, 642 breweries from 44 countries and 47 U.S. states vied for awards with 3,330 beers entered in 90 beer style categories.
The 2010 World Beer Cup eclipsed the record of the Brewers Association's own Great American Beer Festival (GABF) to become the largest commercial competition ever. There were 3,308 entries judged in the 2009 GABF, compared to the 2010 World Beer Cup's 3,330 entries judged.
There are some interesting stats about this years festival in the press release here.

Full Winners list of the 2010 competition below!

Deschutes Beer Dinner = Bacon + Beer

Bacon and Beer lovers alert. Deschutes Portland Public House has a pretty sweet beer dinner lined up this Monday and the theme is vegetarian dishes paired with pork dishes which means there is lots of bacon goodness. Pink peppercorn-cherry wood smoked bacon candy with  Bachelor ESB anyone?

I have yet to go to a Deschutes dinner but I have heard nothing but rave reviews about them. Supposedly they do the best beer dinners around.
Anyway I will be there with some friends to see if it lives up to the hype.So if you make it say hello. I think there are still tickets available for this 5 course meal.

The Weekly Taps 4/9

This is the weekly post sponsored by Taplister where I chronicle new draft beers on tap around the PDX area with commercial description, when and where they are tapped if available.

This week there is not a lot of new beers going on but there are some really interesting ones.
New Old Lompoc, the original NW Portland location has a really cool Single Malt Series on tap. These are 2 beers brewed exactly the same except for a different base malt, both varieties of english Maris Otter malt from two different providers. This is a cool experiment to see how much difference there is and how much they can effect the beers overall flavor.

The other big new releases are for Upright Brewing's 1 year anniversary party today, Friday at 430-9pm. The highly anticipated sour barrel aged beer Four Play and a tart, dry, spicy draft only Apricot Farmhouse Ale. They may be still on tap through the weekend. Upright Tasting Room is open 1-6pm on Saturday and Sunday.

The other really notable beer is Alameda's Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA on now at Saraveza. I have not had it yet but I have heard great things and head brewer Carston Haney has a way with hops.

Make Mayan A Hawaiian

Last January, my family, girlfriend and I went on a cruise from San Pedro, California to the Hawaiian Islands, and back. While the trip over was extremely rough, we all ended up having a great time, and spent a good deal of our shore time sampling Hawaiian style beers at five different breweries, and also got to check out a local home brew shop...

Analysis: 2010 Brewers Association Guidelines

Every year the Brewers Association updates their style guidelines based on the recommendations of brewers, judges and other beer experts. These results are compiled by Charlie Papazian. This year's changes have just been announced, and the BA has added 4new beer categories to its listings: American-style Imperial Porter, American-Style India Black Ale, Belgian-style Quadrupel and Fruit Wheat Ale or Lager. I am surprised by the lack of attention the press has given this update, as these guidelines are pretty integral to the definitions of beer education and competition in the future.

These are all for the most part solid selections, but I can't help but think that the changes being implemented are not dissimilar to the Health Care Bill - a bill I am in support of, by the way, but one that has major problems. In this post I plan to take a look at each new style individually and analyze why I think it does or does not work....

APEX Grand Opening Announced

Just received word from Jesse Mccann aka the Beer Guy aka Wolverine that his highly anticipated beer bar APEX which I have wrote about twice here and here already are just waiting on their final permits and will be open relatively soon.
Apex is:

A beer bar (no liquor or food) with 50 taps and over 100 bottles of the best beer from around the world. Food next door. Cycling and motorcycling on TV, never big league ball. Drink, don't drive. 

The date of the grand opening has also been set...

Cheese/Beer/Life: Finds at the Festival

 In its wide repertoire of festivals, events and conventions, Portland’s Spring Beer and Wine Festival (and Tour de Cheese) is the one perhaps best suited to the topics at the heart of this column. In addition to the fact that two of the elements of this event happen to be germane to our subject matter, the festival also facilitates thoughtful tasting and pairings; there is ample seating room, decent sized samples of most of the cheeses and beers offered can be purchased for $1 each, and often the booths have at least some literature on the product being offered if not a brewery or farm representative to discuss their products.
With this knowledge in mind, I travelled to this year’s festival intending to focus not on cheese or beer alone, but on pairings. Accordingly, this week’s column is mostly a collection of a few of my favorite pairings from the event. Most of the cheese sellers assured me that their products could be found in many of the city’s quality food stores (try New Seasons) as well as the larger farmers markets.

Review: Red Hook 8-4-1 Expedition Ale

Thanks to the guys at Craft Brewers Alliance I received an early preview bottle of Red Hook's new Limited Release series offering 8-4-1 Expedition Ale. I was surprised because I was not expecting it nor heard a thing about this beer.

8-4-1 is an American-Style Strong Brown Ale or Imperial Brown you might say. Most interestingly it is brewed with a combination of Honey and Brown Sugar as well as Smoked Malts and then aged for months on oak chips. I must say that is an enticing description and I am excited to try this beer now which is unusual considering my attitude towards most Redhook offerings.
According to my info sheet this beer is great to pair with either Aged Cheddar or Smoked Gouda. We decided to give this a try with the Aged Cheddar and see if it worked.
Beers are scored on a 0-5 scale in .5 increments and cheese pairing was not taken into account in the score.

R.I.P. Toby Day

I have just learned that Toby Day of NW Craft Brands and Anderson Valley Brewing has passed away of Cancer after slipping into a coma. I cannot say that I knew Toby all that well but I have had a chance to have many great and informative conversations with him over the years about the future of the craft beer industry and of course Anderson Valley. Toby was an always friendly outspoken guy who was not afraid to share his opinion and be frank, which I appreciated. It was also evident with Toby that he knew his shit and had passion for it which is not as common as you might think with brand managers and sales reps. I was really shocked by this news today as I had no idea he had cancer and I have not seen him around in awhile. Toby you were a great guy and you will be missed. I dont think they are going to be able to replace you.
Well wishers can leave their thoughts on his Facebook Page.

New Brew Odyssey: Thank God for Southeast

A new weekly column by Brewer and Teacher Ben Edmunds. For Part 1 go here

The US Senate has a long tradition of praise preceding disagreement. So it is here.

North 45 hosted the BrewHog Blow Out a few weeks ago, the culmination of their winter-long Meet the Brewer events. Located just north of 21st and NW Glisan, North 45 is easily one of the best stocked beer bars in the Alphabet District. This event featured brewers from ten regional brewers, including Upright, Cascade, Steelhead, and Lagunitas. In addition to the beers, they offered uncommonly tender and well-sauced ribs that rivaled some of Stumptown’s best barbecue spots.
Ezra, Rob (my good friend and Beer Odyssey co-worker), and I were impressed by the Blow Out. It seemed to draw in a crowd of folks who we had not seen at similar beer events before. Perhaps the bar owners had tapped into the appetites and hearts of the mysteriously trendy market that is Northwest Portland. We enjoyed plenty of beer but were ultimately corralled inside (along with the rest of the fest-goers) when a noise curfew kicked in. We sidled up to one of the few empty tables in the main bar area and grabbed the menu.
Then, the troubles began...

Review Panel: Boulevard Collaboration No.1 Imperial Pilsner

Boulevard Brewing Co. from Kansas City, MO has released the first in a series of collaboration beers. The first being a collab with Jean-Marie Rock or the legendary Orval brewing one of only 7 Trappist breweries in Belgium. Of all the people to brew with that has got to be one of the coolest and my anticipation is high for this beer.
The beer apparently only uses 4 ingredients; a single malt, water, lager yeast and only Saaz hops just like the classic original pils, Pilsner Urquell. Very traditional ingredients for a Pilsner but an Imperial Pils? Many people would say to double a Pils defeats the purpose of a Pilsner, a beer known for its light and dry drinkability. I have had a handful of Imperialized versions and mostly I would agree that they should not be Imperialized with the primary exception being Sam Adams Hallertauer Imperial Pilsner. An amazing and supremely hoppy beer.

Today we have 2 reviewers, myself and noted beer geek and Pilsner lover Mike Stender. I have known Mike for awhile now and immediately thought of him for the review because of his love of lagers. In the end we each give the beer a score of 0-5 in .5 increments.
On to the reviews...

Cheese/Beer/Life: A Wheel in the Rough

Earlier this week I was overjoyed when I walked into Pastaworks on Hawthorne and found a small wheel of Robiola for sale. I had heard about this cheese in the past, but never sought it out until recently, after a fellow cheese lover extolled its qualities. The wheel was not overly expensive, about $15, and I was able to get four separate servings out of it, which is only slightly more than my average cheese expenditures.

A little research revealed that the Robiola family of cheeses comes from the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of northern Italy. There are a variety of Robiolas, and the producers of this cheese differentiate their products with different mixtures of milk (cow, sheep and/or goat) and various treatments of the rind. What appears common to most Robiolas is that they are soft ripened cheeses (and, in a few cases, fresh cheeses) with a dense soft cream interior and a high fat content. In addition, it seems that most, if not all, Robiolas produce a pungent aroma, yet usually prove mild in flavor.

Review: Gigabit IPA from Hopworks

Early Wednesday morning we broke the news that Hopworks Urban Brewing was releasing a beer in tribute to Google in an effort for them to bring their new Google Fiber technology to Portland as a test ground. Read the full story on that here.

Today, Thursday 4/1, we got to see and try this beer for ourselves with the likes of City Commisioner Dan Saltzman, Pampelmoose creator and Gang Of Four frontman Dave Allen, Kerry Finsand of Taplister, and Hopworks brewers Christian Ettinger and Ben Love, among many other media and television outlets.

The Newest School

Thats it I give up. A new blog has came along that I cannot compete with, after all they are 'The Newest School' and I am only the 'New' School. I can't wait to meet the creator of the blog so that I may learn their secrets.

The Newest School

EastBurn Hosts Bear Republic Horizontal Tasting

Last Thursday, East Burn hosted the final in a series of several Bear Republic Brewing's Hop Fests around Portland, each of which featured the Healdsburg/Cloverdale California Brewery's showcase IPAs. Due to scheduling, this was the first one I was able to attend, and I was excited to finally try all these beers side by side for the first time, especially at one of my favorite bars, EastBurn. My friends and family at Mountain Peoples Distributing were there to talk about the beer, and have a pint while doing so.

While these tastings were taking place around Portland, we got to discussing what you would call a tasting of multiple similar styles of beer from a single brewery. If you were to taste different years of a particular beer, it is generally referred to as a Vertical Tasting. I posed the question of what to call this kind of tasting to many of my customers at the bar, and the unanimous decision was to call it a Horizontal Tasting. I like the double entendre, as it could truly apply with some of these high octane tastings!