Citrus-Tropical Fruit-Chili Pepper infused IPA this Thursday

Elan loves the Blichmann Hop Rocket

This Thursday, March 3 at 5:30pm The New School releases its latest collaboration brew, made by myself and "SNOB" Ritch on Coalition Brewing's pilot system. Our unnamed citrusy IPA is brewed with hot peppers and a variety of fruits and will be split and served in two batches. One was fermented with an orange/peach/mango concentrate and the other fermented on an apricot puree, with Fatali chili peppers added to each batch in the secondary. One of these batches will be poured through a Hop Rocket stuffed with more hops and Scotch Bonnet Peppers.
Let's take a look at the making of this beer...

The Cycle Pub

A few summers ago Hopworks debuedt their 'Bike Bar' to much attention. This week The Old Mill District in Bend, OR in partnership with Cycle Pub Tours debuted debuted a 16 seater Cycle Pub that ups the ante of roving foot pedaled draft beer.  

Bay Area Beer Chronicles - Part 1

Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to the holy land, aka San Francisco, for SF Beer Week. SF may not be the best beer city, or even hold a candle to Portland, but it has more than enough attractions to keep any beer geek happy, and many of these things are unique to the city by the bay. Never are the Bay Area's beery treats more on display than during the annual SF Beer Week, which takes place in all the surrounding cities as well as SF itself. This year I made the trip with friend and Belmont Station manager, "Captain" Neil Yandow.

New Brew Odyssey: Harnessing Young Brett

This Wednesday at Breakside Brewery, we will be releasing a sour brown ale at brewed with roasted chestnuts in the mash and boil. It’s called Castagno Selvatico, Italian for ‘wild chestnut’
Chestnuts have become a popular adjunct in many craft beers from Italy: Birra Troll’s chestnut beer, Palanfrina, is regularly available at bottle shops in Portland. Borgo also makes one, and when Sam Calagione and Vinnie Cilurzo announced their plans to start an Italian-inspired brewery restaurant in New York with Teo Musso, they said that their first release would be a beer brewed with chestnuts. In our experiment, the chestnuts were conceived to serve a supporting role, meant primarily to give the beer a slight roasty flavor and a mid-palate sweetness.

Full Sail LTD 05

When John Harris handed me a 6-Pack of Full Sail Brewing's latest LTD Series beer, I was expecting something different from the man behind the Brewmaster's Reserve line of seasonal beers. After all, an Amber Lager does not exactly inspire excitement. But why not? A good lager is a lot harder to brew than an ale of average quality, and it is eminently more drinkable than your almost run-of-the-mill (these days) Imperial Stout.

All You Need to Know about Lucky Lab's Barleywine & Big Beer Tastival

Yes, I tasted all of these beers

Last week I was invited along with a few othersto do a little quality control at the Lucky Lab on NW Quimby in preparation for this year's annual Barleywine and Big Beer Tastival. The festival brings together some of the best and strongest beers in Oregon, as well as entries from California to Alaska. It is a hard job, but someone has to taste through all of these kegs in preparation for March 4th and 5th...

Kona Brewing: From the Big Island to the Craft Brewers Alliance

Kona Brewing is expanding its offerings to those of us on the mainland with a new beer, the first since 1997 and also the first in the new Aloha Series - KoKo Brown, which is made with toasted coconuts. This beer is not new to natives of the Big Island, where Kona is based, as it was introduced there in the summer of 2009 under the name Coco Loco.

When I was invited to the secret tapping and release party at Thatch Tiki Bar, I did not know what to expect, only that Kona had a new beer and that Kona Brewing President and CEO Mattson C. Davis had made the trip over for it. That seemed like something worth writing about, if not just to try the new beer but also to learn more about a company I knew little of other than the fact that it was recently purchased by the Widmer Brothers.

New Brew Odyssey: An Experiment in Unpopularity

Our latest experiment in brewing is a low-alcohol wheat Gruit. That is, an unhopped ale.
There is very little about gruit that should recommend it to the modern beer drinker’s palate. Despite having some wonderful local examples, like Upright’s Reggae Junkie and Roots Brewing’s old Gruit Kolsch, the style seems particularly ill suited to the Northwestern consumer’s palate, which expects hop character in abundance. Gruit, with its myriad botanicals and claims of healthfulness, suffers because even an otherwise-tasty mix of herbs usually fails to impart the same level of bitterness that hops provide. There are some ingredients, like the tangerine peel and black tea that Gilgamesh Brewing uses, that function as substitute bittering agents, but most gruit recipes do not call for these spices. Indeed, hops are such an integral part to what we expect ‘beer’ to taste like, that their absence immediately reveals itself, even in experimental beers and styles where hop presence exists only as a balancing bitterness.

Beer News: Ninkasi 6-Packs, Homebrew Bill, World's Oldest Beer & more

Here is the week's round up of beer-related News and Scoops.

Ninkasi to Debut 6-Packs in March

The flyer really says it all, but if you're wondering what Eugene-based Ninkasi Brewing beers will be available in 6-pack form: obviously the flagship Total Domination, but also seasonals, beginning with their next release 'Spring Reign', and other year-rounds like 'Believer' coming later.

Homebrew Bill SB 444 Clears First Hurdle to Becoming Law
Yesterday, Thursday February 10th, the Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee of the Oregon Senate heard testimony regarding Senate Bill 444, which would clear the way for homebrewers to transport beer from their homes and once again be able to hold homebrew competitions. A ruling last summer based on little known Oregon state law effectively prevented all competitions in the state. Representatives for the bill's supporters, Matt Radtke, Denny Conn, Gary Glass, and Chris Hummert, spoke about what this bill would mean for homebrewers and for the state. The bill passed unanimously off the floor of the committee. Next it goes to a vote in the Senate, then the House, and finally to the Governor to sign into law. If everything goes according to plan, it could become law by the end of March.

Scientists Resurrect World's Oldest Beer
Oh, those crazy Swedes. In July 2010 a shipwreck was discovered in the Baltic Sea that yielded bottles of the world's oldest known drinkable beer, dated between 1800 and 1830. Now the local government has commissioned scientists to try to discover what ingredients were used to create it.
"We're going to try to see if we can find any living yeast or other microbial cells, because that would be very interesting with respect to reproducing the beer,"
Dr Wilhelmson explained.
"So far we have seen under microscopes that there are yeast and bacterial cells, but we don't know if they're dead or alive yet. If we can't find living microbes, we will look at the DNA and try to compare it to brewing yeasts that we know today, to see how similar or different the yeasts are."
Sourced from the BBC

Kona Brewing Launches Koko Brown on the Mainland
The latest in Kona Brewing's line of rotating beer releases is Koko Brown ,a fan favorite brown ale brewed with toasted coconut. Commercial description:
“Koko Brown’s distinctive, nutty aroma and flavor comes from real toasted coconut blended into each brew. One sip of this roasty, smooth mahogany-colored beer and you will feel like you are on a warm, sun-drenched beach in Hawaii. Aloha! Since 1994, Kona Brewing Co. has been committed to making handcrafted ales and lagers of uncompromising quality. We invite you to visit our brewery and pubs whenever you visit Hawaii. Mahalo!”
Look for it soon in 6-packs.

Deschutes Releases Reserve Series Entry 'The Stoic' in April
Recently Deschutes announced it will be adding a new beer to its wax-dipped Reserve Series line of beers, which includes coveted brews like The Dissident and The Abyss. This new entry will be named 'The Stoic'. Deschutes is keeping details of the beer top secret, saying it will not be announced until the Craft Brewers Conference, but my sources indicate this is a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Belgian-Style Quad, and perhaps the same beer exactly as recent limited draft release 'Streaking the Quad'. Look for this brew to be on store shelves in April.

Anchor Brewing Releases Brekle's Brown for SF Beer Week
Since Anchor Brewing was sold last year, the brewery released the first new entry - Humming Ale - in its lineup in years, and is now set to debut another new offering, Brekle's Brown, during San Francisco Beer Week. Word is it will be a draft-only offering. There is no word on whether this will be made available year-round or how widely it will be distributed, but sources indicate only 420 kegs have been made so far.

This Weekend + Valentine's Day: Block 15 Night, My Beery Valentine, Don Younger's Wake and more

This weekend is a busy one for more reasons than Valentine's Day, though a few beer events are in that theme as well. It is nice to see we can all find more reasons to drink by adding interesting themes to events such as Brewpublic's My Beery Valentine tasting and Alameda's similarly-named My Bloody Valentine parties on Monday, and, of course, Block 15 Night and Pappy's Dark Ale Bottle Release Party on Saturday at The Hop & Vine. Last of all, on a sadder note is the late great Don Younger's wake at the Horse Brass on Sunday.
Details on these events below...

North Coast Ale Trail - Part 2

Thanks to the Astoria & Warrenton Chamber of Commerce and tour guides Stacey Malstrom and Dan Bartlett, aka the Beer Admiral, we spent a weekend on the coast discovering the North Coast Ale Trail. I wrote about part 1 of our slightly more sober adventures, and now continue on to part 2, wherein we travel to more of the best pubs and bottle shops of the Oregon Coast.

Oregon Public House Aims to Be World's First Non-Profit Pub

One more reason to love Portland is that it is the future home of quite likely the world's first Non-Profit Pub, which will be devoted to Oregon craft beer. Named simply the Oregon Public House, this pub aims to benefit the less fortunate while providing you with good beer and food in a cozy atmosphere. The venture is fronted by Ryan Saari, the pastor at the local Oregon Community Church that meets in the ballroom space above the future bar on NE Dekum Ave., only 1 block from Breakside Brewery.

Burnside Brewing brings the Sweet Heat

Brewer/Owner Jason Mcadam looks on at the Beer Caviar sampler plate

Burnside Brewing Co. opened just over a month ago and has been slowly rolling out new beers, science experiments, and food specials in their 'Fermented Hour' with some great deals. Today, Tuesday, February 8th, they release their latest new brew, dubbed 'Sweet Heat'. We have the details on the beer and specials.

North Coast Ale Trail - Part 1

Portland is not the only city in Oregon with a great craft beer scene. Obviously Bend and Hood River make strong candidates for the list, but we should probably add Astoria, and for more reasons than just Fort George Brewing.
Last weekend I was invited by Stacey Malstrom on behalf of the Astoria Chamber of Commerce to join some other media for a tour of many of the best beer destinations that the coastal town and other surrounding areas have to offer, which is a bigger list than one might think.

Portland's New Bottleshop Celebrates with Free Beer & Wine

North Portland's The Hop & Vine has flown under the Portland beer geeks radar for the last few years even though they keep some of most well curated taps flowing and a good selection of bottles and a killer menu to boot. This Saturday 2/5 there is another reason to check it out though with the Grand Opening of the new next door Bottleshop and free Beer and Wine.
More info and Photo Gallery Below:

Restaurant Review: Sizzle Pie

It has been a minute since I bothered to review a new establishment on The New School, but I thought it was time after a few visits to the hyped new East Burnside pizza joint Sizzle Pie, located just across from the newly opened Burnside Brewing. Shortly after opening this pie joint received some great press for their late night hours and creative pies, but what really pushes them into New School territory is their goal of becoming a great watering hole with a very craft beer-centric drink list.