Hops, the Spice of Life

Hops are an integral part of most beers, working as a preservative and bittering agent and often the primary flavoring ingredient. It seems that the world is catching on to the spice of life by adding hops to everything from body soaps to air fresheners and sodas. Today I highlight a Hop infused Cigar, Hop infused Whiskey, and a Hop Tequila/Whiskey hybrid.

New Brew Odyssey: Cocktail Beers

By now readers of this site are well acquainted with Ezra’s ongoing beer cocktail projects—the Brewing Up Cocktails series, work at Cocktail Camp and the Spring Beer and Wine Fest, and so on. At Breakside this week, we begin releasing beers in a series that start from the same concept as Brewing Up Cocktails but end with a different result.

Deschutes and Boulevard Collaborate on White IPA

Today's post is the rare press release reposting. Deschutes and Boulevard Brewing just announced a new collaboration, "White IPA". News of this beer leaked late last week on the web, but today the official announcement has been made. I suppose the whole Cascadian Dark Ale/Black IPA trend was bound to swing the other way, so why not a white IPA, as long as it's good? Deschutes is set to release its CDA Hop In The Dark again in May.

Press release below...

Microhopic 3 and the Healthiest Cocktail Menu of ALL-TIME This Weekend

The Spring Beer & Wine Fest is not the only thing going on this weekend. Both Brewpublic and The New School have big events this weekend and, un-coincidentally, both were "Picks" in the Willamette Week's Food & Drink section.

BREWPUBLIC is pleased to announce our next event. MICROHOPIC is a series showcasing new and interesting breweries and beer styles from around Oregon. In our third installment of MICROHOPIC, our friends at Migration Brewing Company will host and participate in this unique tasting experience. In addition to Migration's fine house brews, we will also be showcasing newer releases from Amnesia Brewing, Beetje Brewery, Breakside Brewery, and Burnside Brewing. These five Portland craft microbreweries encapsulate the spirit of innovation in brewing amongst Portland's many distinct artisans. Plus, they are a younger, fresher face to the community that we are eager for you to experience first hand, therefor, brewers and brewery representatives will be on hand to discuss their work with folks. Here's the details of the event:

When: April 23, 2011 6PM-midnight
Where: Migration Brewing 2828 NE Glisan Street, Portland, Oregon (click here for map)
Why: Because we are crazy about craft beer.

Jacob Grier calls our beer and cocktail event this Easter Sunday the unhealthiest cocktail list of all time. Why? Because each drink contains both a spirit, beer, and one entire raw egg. Though I respect my partner in Brewing up Cocktails, I must disagree and call our list "The Healthiest Cocktail List of ALL TIME". My argument?

Raw eggs contain a huge supply of selenium, iodine, phosphorus, molybdenum, choline, lutein, and vitamins A, B2, B5, B12, E, D, and K. Add to this a healthy 5.5 grams of protein, 20% of your RDA for tryptophan, and essential fatty acids.

Beer contains more proteins and B vitamins than wine. Beer is also equally full of antioxidants and is proven to build stronger bones. Beer helps prevent arteries clogging and thus is healthy for the heart and cardiovascular system. Beer drinkers are 40% less likely to get kidney stones. Drinking moderate amounts of beer prevents mind degredation by 20%. And finally, beer lowers your risk of getting cancer.

Cocktail Menu:

Brewing up Cocktails Easter Edition with Oakshire kicks off 5-8pm at Spints Alehouse
Sunday 4/24
401 NE 28th just off of Glisan

Spring Beer & Wine Fest Preview with Video

The Spring Beer & Wine Festival kicks off today and runs through Saturday. I unearthed this never before used video that SNOB Ritch filmed at last year's media preview with the founder of seldom-seen Panty Dropper Ale. Talk about a beer with sexual overtones!

Other than Panty Dropper, you can also try some cocktails courtesy of Jacob Grier, Yetta Vorobik, and I during a seminar we are presenting on the Chef Stage at 3pm. Directly following that at 4pm, Lisa Morrison, aka the Beer Goddess, will talk about beer and food pairings. This is also your chance to pick up Lisa's new book, "Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest". Of course, there is a wide variety of brewers present at the festival, along with distillers, wineries, cheese makers, and cooking demonstrations.

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First Impressions: Sunshine Tavern

Sunshine Tavern opened up a couple of days ago in my hood at 3111 SE Division, Portland, OR. The bar and restaurant is apparently already much loved by the PDX press because of its parents: Jenn Louis and David Welch, a husband and wife team known for North Portland's much acclaimed Lincoln restaurant. Sunshine Tavern has been billed as the couple's down to earth neighborhood bar venture, as opposed to the more upscale and classy Lincoln. It is worth talking about here, both because it is in my neighborhood and the bar has a good craft beer list, as well as other handcrafted refreshments.

To Firkin or not to Firken

("Firken" Fest)

Last weekends Firkin Fest at the Green Dragon broke new ground, both redefining the way Firkin is spelled, (apparently Rogue thinks it should be spelled Firken) as well as expectations other than what has been promised (22 Firkins compared to the 30 claimed on the poster). I am all for more Firkins as well ask cask beer in P-Town something that we are lacking but can someone please do it right?

Easter Sunday with Oakshire Brewing and Flip Beer Cocktails

This Easter Sunday, April 24th, we are going to attempt to resurrect the "flip," a nearly forgotten class of drink. Classically made with beer and rum, today flips are more commonly known as a style of cocktail made using a whole egg.

To attempt this feat, the Brewing up Cocktails crew and I are teaming up with Brewmaster Matt Van Wyk of Oakshire Brewing and using a lot of his dark beers, including the beloved Heart Shaped Box, an imperial cherry and cocoa nib, barrel-aged stout, along with classics like Overcast Espresso Stout. More appropriately, as it is Easter, we will be using whole farm fresh eggs from Oakshire Brewing's own chickens. We are doing this all for the first time in SE Portland at Spints Alehouse, one of my favorite places on the happening strip along east 28th Avenue.

Let me give you a little refresher course on the history of the flip, one of the first beer cocktails and maybe the most unique, as well as a preview of some of our versions to be served this coming Sunday.

New Brew Odyssey: Adventures in Dry Hopping

This Wednesday, we are hosting a Night of the Dry Hops at Breakside Brewery. Today’s event developed as I began to plan our summer beer releases. We had been getting lots of requests from customers to brew a classic pale ale, so I started to look at the options for creating another hoppy beer in our lineup that was ‘American’ in its profile. I wanted to be distance the hop character in our summer pale from the Columbus/Citra/Chinook and Amarillo/Centennial/Cascade driven aromatics of our regular IPA and hoppy amber, respectively, but was struggling with where to take the beer. What hops should I use to make a light, crisp summer pale ale distinct?

Beer News almost to Unbelievable to be True

After reading these two stories each that happened within the last week you might think it was April Fool's still but nope these ones are real. I only with I could have thought of these for my April 1st post!
Credit goes to Beer News on each of them though I plan to interject a little humor.

Goose Island Brewmaster caught Peeing into Beer Glasses at Chicago Bar
I am half expecting to find out that this is a hoax or just some angry Bartender mad about Goose Island's sale to Anheuser-Busch. But according to the Chicago Tribune current but outgoing Goose Island Brewmaster Greg Hall got toasted at a Chicago bar with fellow Goose Island employees and then relieved himself into two glasses of beer and left them for staff to clean up. When confronted about it by a bartender he denied it but by the next day was making apologies and said he had too much to drink and it had nothing to do with his families recent $38 million sale of GI to AB. My favorite part of the Chicago Tribune piece is this last bit:
On Saturday, Hall also posted a simple, “My bad” on his Facebook profile.
One person responded, “Really classy …” Another wrote, “eeesh.”
However, two people “liked” it.

Rogue Nation pulls out of Yemen or
Yemeni's Dodge Rogue Bullet
Last week Rogue Brewing announced they were pulling out of the country of Yemen. I did not realize they were occupying Yemen but the Rogue Nation is all powerful. Perhaps they had to seceed power after the popular uprising? Real quote from the Rogue Nation manifesto:
"...the Rogue Nation, its Embassies, Outposts, and Protected Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to Any Country, its Laws, Limitations, Expectations, Traditions, or Bullshit; and that as a Free and Independent Nation they have full Power to levy War..."

Yemeni's demand their Freedom
Here is the notice that Beer News posted:

Due to our exponential growth over the past 23 years and in an effort to continue to be a dependable source of supply, we regretfully informed our importer in Yemen today that we can no longer supply this emerging craft beer market with Rogue Ales, Lagers, Porters, Stouts and Spirits.
We have chosen not to contract brew and will continue to make 100% of our beers in the beautiful Oregon coastal town of Newport, population 9,532.
Our products will continue to be available to loyal Rogue beer drinkers, retailers and distributors in all 49 states and 31 countries including Guam, Trinidad & Tobago and Denmark.
Thanks for your continued support of the Rogue Revolution.
Sorry Yemen.

The good news is that the people win this time. Congrats Yemen its not all bad.

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Bazi Bierbrasserie: New Belgian Bier Bar in PDX

Recently I have spent a fair amount of time bemoaning the lack of a real Belgian beer bar in Portland and trying to figure out why the world's best beer city is lacking in this respect. Wait, you say, we have Blue Monk (good, but not committed), North 45 (don't make me laugh) and Victory (pretty close, but not truly Belgian focused)! So, of course, in the last week I have heard of two new Belgian influenced bars, one in Corvallis called 'Les Caves' that will be operated by Block 15, and, thankfully, one right down the street from my home in Portland. Bazi Bierbrasserie is taking over the space off of SE 32nd and Hawthorne previously occupied by Magnolia Cafe and, before that, Chance of Rain.

No Pity in a Beer City

Last month marked the kickoff (pun intended) of the Portland Timbers 2011 season and their first as a newly minted Major League Soccer team. While soccer may still be pretty unpopular in this country, that sure does not seem true in Portland, where you can scarcely go into a pub (especially a brewpub) without seeing a Timbers Army scarf emblazoned with the "No Pity" (in the Rose City) moniker. There are now no fewer than four soccer-themed beers that have been released by Portland breweries. you have to wonder, is there some larger connection between soccer fans and beer geeks, or are brewers just trying to cash in on the phenomenon?

Updated: Beer News

Updated Thursday morning with more news:
  1. Iron City Brewing Sold
  2. Red Hook's seasonal Wit made with Ginger
  3. Bridgeport's 2011 Stumptown Tart with Strawberries
  4. Widmer's Galaxy Hopped Barleywine hits Store Shelves

Plus from yesterday:
  1. Block 15's European inspired Bier Cafe 'Les Caves'
  2. Samuel Adams your new Money Lender
  3. 16 Tons Anniversary Beer from Oakshire
  4. Portland Fruit Beer Festival - Homebrew Competition
  5. Brewing up Cocktails special Easter Sunday edition with Oakshire Brewing
  6. Migration Brewing's Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
  7. Bushwhacker's Basque and Asturias Cider Tasting
  8. Brewpublic's Spring Microhopic
  9. Upright Brewing's Gose re-release Party
  10. Breakside Brewery's upcoming Experimental Beer Release Schedule
  11. Avery Brewing's Absinthe Barrel-Aged Beer
Keep reading for the details.

Cocktail Camp PDX and the Homemade Hot Scotchy

This coming Sunday, April 10th, is the Cocktail Camp PDX event at The Gerding Theater in the The Armory, located in the Pearl Distrcit. It is not really a camp, but rather a day long event full of very informal presentations, seminars, and a a lot of drinking. It's a cocktail- and spirit-focused event, but the organizers have not forgetten where they are, and there's love for the beer geeks, too. A panel at 11am called The Art of Tasting Beer and Spirits will feature presentations by Alex Ganum, Brewmaster/Owner of Upright Brewing, and Lee Medoff, the distiller well known for co-founding House Spirits and his upcoming venture Bull Run Distillery.

Throughout the day, attendees will get to sample the beers, wines, and spirits featured in the presentations. There will also be breaks for social hours, where participants will receive drink tickets that come along with admission.

I am excited to be on a panel at 12:15, along with Jacob Grier, that will make a presentation about Beer Cocktails. I will focus on hot beer cocktails and the Hot Scotchy, probably the most popular beer cocktail we have created. I have been working on the recipe for a while, but I have finally developed a method for any average Joe to make a Hot Scotchy at home without any brewing experience or knowledge. Here is what it says in the pamphlet on my presentation:
Purists might scoff at mixing spirits and beer, yet they have been a classic combination since the Middle Ages. European cultures celebrated with wassail, a combination of ale, mead, and spices. During colonial times sailors would make a mixture of rum, ale, sugar, spice, and eggs to create the Flip. And in modern times brewers enjoy a Hot Scotchy, a drink made with the hot sticky sweet and bready cereal-like unfermented liquid called the “wort.” This hot liquid is mixed with whiskey or another grain based spirit to create a hot potable cocktail that is incredibly simple but nearly impossible for the non-brewer to make. Ezra Johnson-Greenough will be presenting on hot classic beer cocktails and a method he has developed for the non-brewer to make Hot Scotchies easily at home or behind a bar.

Beyond that, Jacob Grier will present on more common cold beer cocktails, and will be focusing on one we recently created for Ninkasi Brewing called the Ale-Avit. Here are the details on his presentation:
Beer is also an underrated ingredient in refreshing cold cocktails. Its wide range of flavors make it perfect for mixing. Beers can be bitter, hoppy, roasty, sweet, and even sour, and their carbonation can lift and extend a drink. Whether as the star ingredient simply laced with spirits or as a supporting component in a more spirit-forward drink, beer earns its place on a cocktail menu. Jacob Grier will discuss several ways to use beer behind the bar.
Personally I am very interested in the seminars on The New American Whiskey and on how to make your own Bitters, Sodas, and Syrups. Below is the full schedule of presentations for the day:

10:30 — Lillet Meet & Greet and social hour
Morning social hour with complimentary low-alcohol cocktails served by Lillet. Come have a morning refresher and meet some of your fellow cocktail enthusiasts before the day gets started.

11:00 — The Art of Tasting Beer and Spirits
Set the stage and your palate for the day by learning how to really taste your spirits and beer. Learn what makes spirits different and how to pick out their defining characteristics. Lee Medoff (Bull Run Distillery), Nathan Gerdes (h50), and Alex Ganum (Upright Brewing) will lead the discussion.

12:15 — Beer cocktails: Why Have One When You Can Have Both?
Jacob Grier (Metrovino) and Ezra Johnson-Greenough (Upright Brewing) will teach you how to craft fantastic cocktails using the unlikeliest of ingredients.

1:00 — Northwest Distillery Social hour
Complimentary cocktail and punch bar hosted by Northwest Distillery and served by Nathan Gerdes.

2:00 — The New American Whiskey
The other whiskeys that have been taking bars by storm and redefining what “American whiskey” means. Learn more from Lance Winters (St. George Spirits), Lee Medoff (Bull Run Distillery), and Sebastian Degans (Stone Barn Brandy Works) about this growing movement.

3:00 — House Spirits social hour
Complimentary cocktail and punch bar hosted by House Spirits Distillery and served by Kyle Webster (St. Jack).

3:00 — Yes, You Can Entertain!
Learn how to plan your own amazing cocktail parties with the help of David Shenaut (Beaker and Flask, Irving Street Kitchen) and Jacqueline Patterson (Lillet).

4:15 — DIY Sodas, Syrups, and Bitters
Expert instruction on doing it yourself from San Francisco’s Jennifer Colliau (Small Hand Foods, Slanted Door) and Columbine Quillen (10 Below).

I recommend getting your tickets now: http://www.cocktailcamp.net/
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Taplister Acquires Beer West Magazine

From a Press Release:
Friday, April 1, 2011, Portland, OR - Kerry Finsand, Chief Beer Officer of Taplister LLC, and Megan Flynn, Publisher of Beer West Magazine, announced today that the two companies would merge business and publishing operations beginning April 1st, with Kerry Finsand becoming President and CFO of the newly formed Taplister NW Communications, LLC. Outgoing Beer West Publisher Megan Flynn would take over as Content Editor for both the print magazine and Taplister websites and smartphone applications.

I knew this had been in talks for a while, but it is now official. It's an interesting move that perhaps reflects the uncertain future of print media and a highly competitive mobile application environment. They have a whole new bag of tricks up their sleeve, and even a new beer bar in the works to implement some of the ideas...