It's A Monster Mash

All photos by "SNOB" Ritch and taken at Lompoc's Sidebar

Halloween is coming up and the nice brewers at Lompoc have the perfect beer--Monster Mash ,an Imperial Porter that will debut on draft this Friday at the release party at Lompoc's Sidebar location. There will also be an outstanding lineup of other unique beers (detailed below), and this is just the first of Lompoc's long lineup of new beers and events coming up this fall and into next year.

Hood River Hops - Fresh-Hopped Beer List

This Saturday is the Hood River Hops Fest. In my opinion this is the best of the fresh hop beer festivals because of the location and the selection of the best beers from Portland and the Gorge. Typically Big Horse Brewery has some great fresh hop beers that never make it to town. You're also not going to find these Breakside offerings again in Portland, and who knows about that fresh hopped Sezoen from Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. And if you cannot make it out to Hood River for the first tapping of Double Mountain's beloved Killer Green, shoot to the bottom of this post for info on the Portland release.

Click the image below to enlarge further.

This year Killer Green release party is at the world famous Horse Brass Pub:

An Interview with Brady Walen - New Marketing Manager for the Craft Brewers Alliance

Today one of our own local beer bloggers, Brady Walen of The Daily Pull and Crafted, joins the ranks of bloggers turned professionals in the craft beer industry. Brady didn't get just any old job, either; he's the new Marketing Communications Manager for the Craft Brewers Alliance. The CBA consists of three big craft beer brands: Widmer Brothers, Redhook, and Kona Brewing. It will be no easy task, so when I heard about his new gig I wanted to discuss with him what this meant in the bigger picture. But before we get into the interview, a little background info...

I first met Brady shortly after starting The New School when he was also beginning to write The Daily Pull. After hand delivering to me a growler straight from Astoria's Fort George Brewery of Murky Pearl Oyster Stout, I decided he was an alright guy and invited him over for our first ever review panel. Since then Brady founded Crafted, a blog based around marketing and social media for the beer community that combined his day job as a marketing consultant for a company based in Chicago (where he relocated from) and his love of craft beer. Recently we worked together on the first ever Portland Beer Week, and today I have the pleasure of interviewing him about his new job, the future of The Daily Pull, Crafted, the Craft Brewers Alliance, and the general state of craft beer marketing.

An Open Letter to Rogue Ales

Breaking News: Rogue Ales hates me.

Recently the brewery announced a collaboration with the ridiculously-hyped Portland institution Voodooo Doughnuts for a beer based on the ever popular Bacon Maple Bar. This got lots of press, and rightfully so I would say. These flavors, if they could be combined harmoniously, could be an amazing beer, and with the combo of these Oregon institutions there was guaranteed buzz.

Update Monday 9/26: D.J. Paul has offered his guest review on Brewpublic

Fast forward to today, when Rogue Brewing released the beer at the brewery, but not before sending out some media samples to writers including Brewpublic and Willamette Week, but I was not included on the list [sadface :( ]. Sources indicate that even Jeff Alworth at Beervana was not deemed worthy of a sample. If you follow these blogs you know Brewpublic rarely--if ever--reviews beers and, unfortunately for Rogue, Willamette Week has no such qualms and posted one of the most scathing articles on a beer I have seen, calling it a "foul abomination". Now, normally one review would not crush a beer; however, Rogue sent this bottle only to a select few, and the bottles for public sale are only available by the case for $156. Holy shit, man, I have not seen a hyped release turn into a clusterfuck in such a short amount of time ever. Now the great website Beer News has chronicled the odd marketing of the beer since its announcement, bringing even more attention to the one bad review. Because no other review has been posted yet, it might as well be the word of god. Even Lisa Morrison the Beer Goddess seems none to pumped on it:
"Rogue says Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale goes well with doughnuts and pork. (But the little icon that indicates the food pairings made the doughnut look like a boob, and with the pink bottle, I thought perhaps it was a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness. But maybe that’s just me.)"
Everyone knows I am no huge Rogue fan, but the brewery has made some excellent beers and I have a hard time taking Willamette Week staffers' quotes as a real review. I doubt it is as bad as it sounds, but who is going to spend $156 on a full case of a beer that already has a bad reputation. Hey Rogue, I know I have given you a hard time in the past, but I would happily try your beer and give it a fair shot if you make it possible. I will happily purchase it from you if let me buy a single bottle., which has picked up on the horrendous reviews, reports:
"Head Rogue Jack Joyce tells me that it took brewmaster extraordinaire John Maier three times to “get it the way he wanted it.” And that this was a beer that kept Maier up at night, trying to figure out how to make it — sometimes even compelling him to head to the brewery in the middle of the night to try something."
I do not know what John Maier could possibly be attempting in the middle of the night, but far be it from me to diss him by not giving his beer a fair shot. Mr. Maier is an accomplished brewer who is capable of great things. Rogue, if you truly believe your beer stands on its own, let's get it out to the consumer, no? Sometimes I imagine the Rogue offices as those of Willy Wonka, well-intentioned but completely out of control. Frankly I would love to support the brewery more if they would give me a chance.

Rheinlander/Gustav's Authentic Oktoberfest Celebration

For fans of authentic-as-it-gets German-style Oktoberfests, this weekend's celebration at the Rheinlander and Gustav's is the real deal. Too often do the locals forget that this pub and family friendly restaurant is still the most traditional place in Portland to get real German-style food and beers. (See our review here). The Rheinlander will hold its 21 and over Oktoberfest celebration Friday September 23rd and Saturday September 24th from 5-10pm , with a special family period from Noon to 5pm on Saturday.

Cascade Barrel House Celebrates First Anniversary

It is hard to believe, but this Friday and Saturday the Cascade Brewing Barrel House is celebrating its first anniversary from 2 to 10 pm each day. There is nowhere else in town (or perhaps the country) where you can find such a large number of sour beers as readily as at Cascade. The brewery will be rolling out some special tappings, bottles, and food specials for the occasion.

Loverbrau and a Tribute to Ben Love

Last Saturday at Hopworks Urban Brewery's annual BikeToBeerFest, owner Christian Ettinger unveiled a secret beer called Loverbrau that he had snuck off to Golden Valley Brewing to make himself in tribute to departing Head Brewer Ben Love. At the end of this month Ben Love leaves HUB to start Gigantic Brewing with Van Havig. Christian decided to make a surprise speech at 5pm and presented the beer (in an appropriately Gigantic pint glass) to Mr. Love himself.

Loverbrau is a double dry-hopped pale ale and is seriously tasty, with a chewy malt body and tons of citrusy and dank hop flavor. I hope this will be making an appearance at the pub. Ben also talked about saving some for Gigantic Brewing's tasting room, which is not likely to open until December or January.

Fire & Brimstone: A Celebration of Smoked & Chili Beers

Just when you think there are no more original beer event ideas, along comes The Hop & Vine's Fire & Brimstone, a celebration of smoke and chili beers. This two-day event will take place Saturday & Sunday, 9/24-9/25, and will offer more than a dozen beers that use smoked malt, chili peppers, or both. The beers will range from the grandaddy of smoked brewers, Aecht Schlenkerla, to modern classics, and will feature a brand new collaboration beer from Upright Brewing & Breakside Brewing, made with Hop & Vine owner Yetta Vorobik.

A Behind the Pint Brewers Roundtable Discussion

Current Brewers Association Board of Directors

A little over a week ago we had the chance to meet with members of the Brewers Association board of directors at Higgins Restaurant in downtown Portland, where Dogfish Head Brewery founder Sam Calagione was throwing an elaborate beer & wine pairing dinner. The plan was to interview Mr. Calagione himself, but after seeing the amazing group of brewers and owners in attendance, I corralled as many as I could for a roundtable panel discussion. It was a real who's who of the national brewing community, including: Sam Calagione Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (DE); Rob Tod Allagash Brewing Co. (ME); Mark Edelson Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant (DE); Steve Bradt Brewpub Representative, Free State Brewing Co.; and Gary Fish, owner, Deschutes Brewery (OR).

The freewheeling and unscripted nature of the conversation led to a few awkward questions on my part, but added to the fun and casualness of the talk. I hope to get a second crack at some of these guys for more in depth discussions in the future.

BikeToBeerFest Is Today, Featuring a Killer Beer List

Hopworks 3rd annual BikeToBeerFest is today (Saturday 9/17) kicking off at noon. If you have not seen my ultimate guide to it with lots of video, read it here. Also, in case you missed it or are too lazy to click through, I have the beer lineup for today and there are some badass rarities and new fresh hop brews:

1) HUB Lager
2) Crosstown Pale Ale
4) Survival Seven Grain Stout
5) Hopworks IPA
6) Deluxe Organic Ale
7) Rise Up Red
8) Fest of Fury – Debut- Fresh Hop – Willamette hops from Goschie Farms
9) Give Me Liberty – Debut – Fresh Hop – Organic Liberty hops from Leavy Farm
10) Bike Beer Kolsch-style Ale
11) Muscles From Brussels Belgian Strong - CTBB winner
12) Bourbon Baltic Porter
13) Brouwer’s Imperial Stout
14) Bourbon Ace of Spades
15) Piledriver

Don't forget this is Bike-In only which just means there is no parking at Hopworks except for bikes. You can park in the neighborhood. It is also FREE, except that obviously you have to buy a glass and tickets for beers.

Beer Notes and Upcoming Events

Upright German Night at Belmont Station
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 16, 6 - 9PM. Upright Brewing is known for its Belgian and French inspired farmhouse-style ales, but the brewery's second love may be German-style beers. Join Alex Ganum and Gerritt Ill as we tap five of their German style drafts: Offenweisse, Gose, Engelberger Pils, and two versions of Gunslinging Helles, a rauch helles brewed with house-smoked malts: one brewed with lager yeast and the other with the Weissbier yeast used on the Offenweisse.
Belmont Station, 4500 SE Stark, Portland, OR
Beer O' Clock Meet-The-Brewer Series at Thatcher's Pub
Each week on Beer O'Clock Radio Lisa Morrison, aka the Beer Goddess, features a different brewer talking about a new beer release. The brewer tells the story of how the beer came into being, as well as sharing its tasting notes and what ingredients were used. The natural evolution of the Beer of the Week series is to bring it to the public to actually taste and try in person.

Thanks to Thatcher's Pub (7906 SE Stark St.) in the up and coming Montavilla neighborhood, the series will become a reality. On Tuesdays from 5-7pm they will be pouring free samples of the Beer of the Week that was heard on the radio the previous Saturday, with the brewer or a brewery rep there to talk and answer questions about the beer. This coming Tuesday, 9/20, features Laurelwood Brewery's and Prevale Pale Ale, a fundreaiser beer for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

About Beer O'Clock Radio: The only weekly, commercial radio show about good beer in the Northwest, and perhaps even the entire country, Beer O'Clock Radio is like having a pint in your favorite pub, anywhere in the world, with some of the best brewers, beer experts, chefs, and other beer fans joining you. Catch it in Portland metro on 101.1 FM Saturdays, 3-4 p.m., on select stations across Oregon and SW Washington, or on podcast at -- and find out why we say "Beer O'Clock! Because it's a half-hour better than Beer-Thirty!"

Full Sail's Fresh Hop Beers
Full Sail's Fresh Hop beers are being released on tap and cask around Portland, as well as at the Harborside Pilsner Room and the brewery's taproom in Hood River. These beers are all about hops; wet hopped, kettle hopped, hop back hopped, and dry hopped in the fermenter with 150 pounds of hops per batch. That’s 7.5 pounds of hops per barrel!

Full Sail’s Lupulin and Hopfenfrisch are part of Full Sail’s rotating line up of Brewmaster Reserve beers. They will also be available at various fresh hop beer festivals throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Hood River Hops Festival and the Yakima Fresh Hop Festival, both Saturday, October 1st. On October 8th they will be on tap at the Oaks Park Fresh Hop Festival in Portland, Oregon, and at Fresh Hop Festival in Eugene. It will also be served Friday September 30th at the Great American Beer Festival at the Oregon Brewer’s Guild booth in the Support Your Local Brewer’s pavilion.

10th Annual Laurelfest this Saturday
Laurelwood Public House & Brewery is having its 10th annual Laurelfest celebration this Saturday, September 17, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. A new seasonal will be tapped, Laurelfest Bier; a Vienna lager style fresh hop beer, a food menu consisting of dishes from a fresh Albacore tuna salad to house made double smoked pork & cheddar sausages, and live music line up.

The music schedule is as follows:

3:30 p.m. Popular Demand

5:30 p.m. Rubella Graves

7:30 p.m. Keegan Smith

There will also be a Laurelfest celebration at the Battle Ground, WA, location from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the same day. Special BBQ menu will be $12.95 for adults and $5 for kids. Live music will be provided by Matt Brown starting at 3:30 p.m. Join the Battle Ground crew for fun, food, and great beer.

Talking and Tasting Hop Harvest with Bridgeport's Jeff Edgerton

Photos by "SNOB" Ritch

Fresh hop season is only just getting started and I marked two more fresh hop beers on my belt yesterday with a sneak preview of Bridgeport Brewing's Hop Harvest coming out this Thursday and Breakside's just-released small batch 100% Simcoe-hopped wet pale ale. This brings the total count of fresh hop beers I have tried so far this season up to 5. This means I have enough now to compare and contrast, which I did while talking with Bridgeport Brewmaster Jeff Edgerton about what makes these beers special.

Fun with Hops

Monday marked my second trip to the hop fields for the harvest this year. This one is by far the best, as it's led by none other than John Harris and the Full Sail Brewing crew and is an invite only industry event at Sodbuster Farms. Two whole tour buses of folks loaded up outside of Full Sail's Pilsner Room at 10am on the southwest waterfront in Portland to head off to Sodbuster Farms.

Breakside Brewery to Collaborate on Beers with Portland's Top Chefs

In its first year of brewing, Breakside Brewery (820 NE Dekum) has developed a reputation for its creative beers and enthusiasm for collaboration brews. After working with numerous brewers and members of the beer community, Breakside brewmaster Ben Edmunds and owner Scott Lawrence are excited to announce the kickoff of a new series of collaborations:

A Guide to Biketobeerfest 2011

(Updated 9/13/2011 with Beer List after the jump)
This Saturday, September 17th, is the 3rd annual Biketobeerfest at Hopworks Urban Brewery. If you're not familiar with the event, it is an Oktoberfest-style bike-in only fest that removes the German style and instead inserts the bicycles. Hopworks always brews up a bunch of beers for this fest every year, including some of the first fresh hop beers of the season. This year there will be 15 different beers on draft. In addition to the beer, there will be bike builders, BMX stunt rider performances, a Huffy toss competition, and breakdancing performances. I must admit, though, that I have a soft spot for the live music portion of the festivities. Why? Well, I book the bands, and I think we have a great lineup this year. For the festival and event schedule, details, and videos and links of the performances, keep reading.

Hop Madness at Rogue's Independence Farm

(Photos by "SNOB" Ritch)

Last weekend "SNOB" Ritch and I attended Hop Madness, a homebrewer-centric camping trip held every year during the fresh hop season. Usually Hop Madness is held on fairgrounds near Salem and homebrewers drive to nearby hop farms to learn about the harvesting process, tour the processing and drying facilities, and obtain fresh hops for homebrewing back at the campsite. This year, though, the annual event was moved to Rogue's hop farm in Independence, OR.

Ride With Brewvana and The New School to the Hood River Hops Festival

One of my favorite festivals of the year is the Hood River (fresh) Hops Fest that is taking place Saturday, October 1st. It is the first and I think best of the fresh hop beer festivals that happen around Oregon, and I have gone the last three years running. Of course, one of the best things about the festival is also its greatest problem for us Portlanders: it's all the way out in Hood River. I know the Hood is a beautiful place, and staying the day there makes for great times, but it is supremely difficult to then get yourself back home after drinking all day, especially given that this year's festival will boast nearly 40 different beers. This is where Brewvana Brewery Tours comes in...

10th Annual Pacific Northwest Brew Cup in Astoria

Not long ago I spent some time in Astoria for the North Coast Ale Trail (Part 1, Part 2) and took this photo above. It is a great place to spend a serene and beer filled weekend. The Pacific Northwest Brew Cup seems as good a reason as any to get up there.

Description: Description: Description: cid:image001.jpg@01CC5787.BCF5AB40Celebrating its diamond anniversary, the Pacific Northwest Brew Cup will bring more than 30 craft beers to Astoria Sept. 23-25 along the scenic Columbia River. The boardwalk landscape serves as a natural backdrop for the outdoor, Oktoberfest-style festival that will feature live music and local food during the region’s nicest time of year to visit.

Playing ringmaster, the boys of Fort George Brewery will lead the festivities with restaurant sponsor Baked Alaska. Fort George, one of Oregon’s fastest growing craft breweries, recently expanded its facility in downtown Astoria to include a new tasting room, canning line and a full-length shuffleboard court. With two flagship breweries and a large assortment of pubs, Astoria is one of Oregon’s sudsiest small towns.

When: September 23-25, 2011
Friday, Sept. 23 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 24 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 25 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: On the Astoria Waterfront, just east of the Columbia River Maritime Museum

Cost: Admission is free! Beer mugs for tasting are $7; 4oz samples are $1 each. All proceeds go to the Clatsop County Regional Food Bank.

Portland Beer Week: Recap and Photo Gallery

Brewers Burger Brawl competitors Alex Ganum, Jason McAdam, Ben Love, Vasilios Gletsos, and Ben Edmunds, with writer Brian Yaeger presenting the trophy above his head

Holy hell, Portland Beer Week is finally over, and though it has been a magnificent 10 days I am still recovering from the nonstop lineup of events. Luckily I had the foresight to attempt to photograph almost every single event I attended--almost 15 in 10 days. This post is mostly an excuse to post all the fun photos I captured of the great times that were had last week and perhaps give people a taste of what they missed or can expect next year.