Hood River Hops Fest - For The Win

One of my favorite local festivals, the Hood River Hops Fest, is this Saturday, and I find myself feeling jittery with excitement. If you're looking to try some fresh hop beers there is no better place to go. Sure, there is the Portland Fresh Hop Tastival at Oaks Park, but it pales in comparison to the Hood River fest.
In the rest of this post you will find a guide to the Hops Fest, along with the first complete beer list for this years event.

As a primer, "SNOB" Ritch has a new video from
Behind The Pint on what goes into picking and packaging those fresh hops every year:

Hop Harvesting 101 from Ritch Marvin on Vimeo.

More info on the Hood River Hops Fest, and why it dominates, after the jump.

the Cascadian Revolution happens this Thursday

This Thursday at 6pm Coalition Brewing is tapping a very special new entry to the Coalator program, a Cascadian Dark Ale created by New School contributors "SNOB" Ritch and "Swine-Flu" Jimmy.
Lovers of the style and skeptics alike should all take some time out to come try this brew which I do believe will exemplify (my belief) of what makes a CDA a CDA and not a Black IPA or India-Style Dark Ale or what have you. What makes it unique and why should you come? Read on about this brews history, its' process and about Coalition's unique Coalator Program...

Gustav's Oktoberfest 9/24-9/25

This Friday and Saturday the authentic German restaurant
Rheinlander and Gustav's Bier Stube host their Oktoberfest with $2 of each entrance fee going to benefit the Northwest Down Syndrome Association. There will be dancing, costume and pretzel eating contests with traditional imported German beer, all under a covered tent.

It may be one of the most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations around, and we were lucky enough to receive some samples of the beers being served to benefit a good cause. According to our rep, LalePrincey, who draws on her German heritage, this might be the festival not to miss if you're looking for some traditional German entertainment and food,
as she reported last month.
Festivities take place from 5-10pm both Friday and Saturday this weekend at the NE Portland location of The Rheinlander/Gustav's at:
5035 NE Sandy Blvd.
Portland, OR

One, Two, Three - Everyone Say Tennessee!

A few weeks ago Ezra asked me if I would be interested in writing a post. Admittedly, I'm quite far from the Pacific Northwest, both in terms of geography and beer (though, we do get Bridgeport 6 packs here). My new home in Nashville, Tennessee has a markedly different beer culture than the one in Portland, Oregon (not to mention many other differences). What follows are some photos and thoughts related to fermentation, cheese and beer in my new home.

Grain & Gristle: Ben Meyer on the new NE portland taphouse

(Update: Sneak Preview of Grain & Gristle)

For the last few weeks rumors have been circulating about a new bar opening in NE Portland by Alex Ganum of Upright Brewing. At the same time, in foodie circles, a rumor has been going around about Ben Meyer, co-owner and chef at acclaimed restaurant Ned Ludd, opening a place on NE Prescott and 15th. Yesterday word leaked out that the two ventures are one and the same. Grain & Gristle will be the name of the new bar, taking its place right next to popular spots Tiga and Podnah's Pit, and the soon to be new Pok Pok Noi.
I caught up with the departing co-owner of Ned Ludd and frontman of the new venture
Grain & Gristle, Ben Meyer, for an interview...

Weakly Weeklies

Heineken five dollars!
Heineken five dollars!
Heineken five dollars!

So, once again I've been missing, spending my vampiric nights working my ass off and sleeping all day. On my few days off I have been hitting up live music shows, most of which have been awesome, with the exception of the beers. I've drank more shit beer from a can in the last month than I have since back in the days where I had time to go fishing. I got a horrific hangover from Heinekens, and remember why I normally don't drink goat urine.

Migration Fall Fest this Saturday

For all of us not privileged enough to go to the Great American Beer Festival this weekend,
Migration Brewing has the answer to our doldrums with their Fall Fest this Saturday, 9/18. They will be tapping 2 brand new housemade brews: Luscious Lupulin and Old Silenus. Plus, there will be a BBQ and 2 bands performing all to benefit the Pangaea Project.
More details on the new beers and fest below:

GABF: Wednesday

For those of you who have never attended GABF, Wednesday is the pre-game - your chance to arrive, get settled, meet up with friends, check out the local offerings and see the town before the madness of the festival overtakes you.
Boarding the flight out of PDX, my first thought was:
"If this plane goes down, we’re losing half of the Portland brewing community." Spotted aboard were Ben Love of Hopworks, Brian Butenschoen of the Oregon Brewers Guild, Curtis Bain & Ron Gansberg of Cascade Brewing and local festival maven, Preston Weesner.

New Brew Odyssey: A Taste of the Rockies

We’re fewer than 24 hours away from the start of this year’s Great American Beer Festival, which has already set records for the number of participating breweries and beers in competition. With us Northwesterners eagerly waiting to hear how our Cascadian Dark Ales place in the India black ale category, this year’s medals will prove a point of pride, feedback, and discussion in a way that no other industry award does.

I’ve spent the last few days in Colorado, having tacked on a little personal time before heading to do ‘field work’ at the GABF. Before moving to Portland, I spent four years living in Colorado’s High Country. During that time, I made it a point to travel to most of the state’s breweries and brewpubs, so now, on my first visit back since 2008, I’ve been visiting old favorites while also checking out the newcomers on the Colorado beer scene. Here’s a report from the road of my first three days back in the Centennial State.

Stone Sour Fest: Part 2

For the fourth year, fans of sours, wild ales & all-around funk braved the July heat to take part in the Stone Sour Fest in Escondido, CA. Boasting more than 50 bottled offerings alongside nearly 60 tart taps, the festival is heralded as one of the largest events of its kind in the nation.

Part 2: Let's get wild!
(Read Part 1

Expecting a line at the door, we strolled up to the gates at 9:30am, a full half hour before the posted start time, and were surprised to find the event already in full swing. We later heard that they had quietly opened the doors at 9am to allow early arrivals and the die-hards a chance to get a sneak peak at the taps. A smart move, as it kept lines moving quickly for the first few hours and gave those of us who couldn’t handle drinking in 98-degree heat a chance to skip out early.

Review Panel: Great Divide's Smoked Baltic Porter

Photo by SNOB Ritch

I am always stoked to see an American brewery making a Baltic Porter, a style that was mostly forgotten in the states and that most consumers and even many beer geeks don't know about. A Baltic Porter is its own entity, and is something distinctly European. Great Divide Brewing Co. (Denver, CO) has chosen to make one as its newest seasonal, and put a German twist on it with the addition of smoked malts. Before we get into our tasting panel's reviews of the style, let's take a look at what makes a porter "Baltic" and what went into Great Divide's interpretation.

Stone Sour Fest: Part 1

For the fourth year, fans of sours, wild ales & all-around funk braved the July heat to take part in the Stone Sour Fest in Escondido, CA. Boasting more than 50 bottled offerings alongside nearly 60 tart taps, the festival is heralded as one of the largest events of its’ kind in the nation.

Review Panel: Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Jack and Ken's Ale

The third beer in Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary series of collaboration beers has been released. If you'er having trouble keeping them straight, you're not the only one. Each beer's label looks the same except for the background color and a small title.
The latest release is Jack and Ken's Ale, a collaboration between craft brewing pioneer Jack McAuliffe of New Albion Brewing and Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada. It is a described as a "Black Barleywine", the first of which I have ever heard. It seems the Cascadian Dark Ale/Black IPA movement is going to be tried on every style of beer.

New Brew Odyssey: A Fall Wish List

Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver has joked before that East Coast brewers head west, see the craft beer landscape, and ask, ‘where are all the styles?’ Oliver’s observation hits especially close to home at this time of year, when the local bounty of hops leads to a glut of (wonderful) fresh hop beers from across the region and other, ‘fall’ styles seem to get short shrift.

Breakside Brewery releases their housemade Brews Saturday

The popular brewpub on 8th and NE Dekum Breakside will finally begin tapping their own house made beers this Saturday September 4th at 6pm after some months of being open with an all rotating guest tap list. In that time Breakside already established itself as a favorite of locals and a successful pub and restaurant even without a brewery. (An interview with co-owner Scott Lawrence and brewer Ben Edmunds) The New School's own Ben Edmunds of New Brew Odyssey who celebrated his 29th birthday this week has crafted some unique beers. More details on those below.

Bushwhacker Cidery/Pub to open Saturday

Yesterday I finally had the chance to check out Jeff Smith's Bushwhacker Cidery that I reported on July 13th. Jeff has been hard at work on the pub on SE 12th just off Powell Blvd and the time has been realized into one of the quickest turnarounds I have seen for a pub. So quick that Jeff is planning to open the Bushwhacker Cider Tasting Room/Pub this Saturday.

Pelican Brewery expands bottling, Fresh Hop beer and more coming soon!

The popular
Pelican Pub & Brewery, winner of numerous national and international awards, will expand its bottled lineup in the coming months with a variety of favorite brews that have never been bottled, as well as some that have not been made in years. Surely the most anticipated will be the Elemental fresh hop beer that just received label approval and will be bottled in a few weeks time. Elemental is always among the most popular fresh hop beers each season, and is one of the first kegs to blow at the fresh hop festivals, making it the beer you better get in line for immediately.

Review Panel: Dogfish Head's Miles Davis' Bitches Brew

Photo by SNOB Ritch

Dogfish Head has come up with another unique and strong concoction Released in honor of Miles Davis' classic album, Bitches Brew is the latest limited offering bottle to hit Portland's beer coolers. This one must have cost them a fortune in licensing fees for Miles Davis' name and even the album artwork.
I picked up a 750ml bottle of Bitches Brew at Bridgetown Beerhouse ($11) on Shaver off of N. Mississippi. I think Dogfish Head has spent their cash well, as the artwork looks absolutely beautiful and classy printed on the matte, watercolor-like texture of their labels.
Bitches Brew is another experimental beer from DFH and is based on the favorite style of beer geeks, the Imperial Stout.