Brewing up Cocktails Presents Winter/Holiday Special Edition

On December 10th the Brewing up Cocktails team presents a special evening of the popular event series at its original home, The Hop & Vine. This event will focus on Winter Warmers and Holiday-themed beer cocktails.

Last year's winter edition was perhaps the most popular installment of Brewing Up Cocktails ever, featuring concoctions that delighted drinkers and critics, like the now infamous Hot Scotchy, but also some lesser-known favorites like the hot mulled Wassail, and the dark, rich, herbal, and aptly named Furburger, all three of which will make their return on December 10th. There will also be four brand new beer cocktails to set your head right and warm the cockles of your heart as the holidays near.

Amnesia Brewing's Winter Ale Fest 2011

UPDATED: December 1 4:24pm with Beer List

Cool news today that Amnesia Brewing is bringing back their Winter Ale Fest this December 10th. This small gathering of holiday-themed ales from Oregon is often a showcase for winter beers not featured at this week's Holiday Ale Festival.

Details are still a bit scarce, but we know Amnesia will be pouring their annual releases of Frosty's Revenge and SleighJerker, as per usual, along with aged versions,  including a Frosty's aged on cognac-infused French oak. They are also releasing a new strong milk stout made with flaked oats and lactose sugar called The Milk of Amnesia, and will be tapping a firkin cask version, with vanilla bean added, special for the fest. Along with all this Amnesia Love, there will be eight other local winter warmers from:

$20= Winter Fest glass mug and 10 tickets, $1= ticket, 2 tickets= 1/2 mug, 4 tickets= full mug.
Still working on getting a couple of brewery's beers/specs confirmed but here's what I have:

Amnesia brews:
Strong, dark, robust ale with enough roastiness to beckon Porter like qualities but, with a Crystal hop dry hopping, citrus and pine sneak in to create a complex and intense quaff.
7.2%abv  55 IBUs 
*Also featuring a fest only 2010 version

Frosty's Revenge
Big, malty, hoppy. Vengeance has never tasted so good! Maris otter, Munich, Vienna and Crystal malts along with Cascade and Amarillo hops.
8%abv,  65 IBUs 
*Also featuring a fest only 2010 version aged on Cognac infused French oak.

The Milk of Amnesia
A strong Milk Stout never before brewed by Amnesia. Made with loads of dark, roasted malts, flaked oats and Lactose (milk sugar) which leaves unfermentable sugar in the finished beer creating a sweet, creamy body.
6.5% abv,  25 IBUs 
*Also featuring a Fest only version with a whole vanilla bean added.

Guest Winter Ales:
Burnside's first winter elixir. It's a big, strong ale brewed with copious amounts of Columbia and Amarillo hops pillowed in the middle to give this chewy complex malt body a unique, fruity, juicy hoppiness throughout.
8.3% abv
77 IBUs 

Double Mountain-
Winter Ale
‘Tis the season to be jolly, so let us contribute with the return of the Fa. This year’s strong ale continues with bagfuls of Matt’s favorite hop -- Centennials -- and the gentle balance of a strong malty brew to warm your heart and soul.
Brewed with Gambrinus Pilsner malt, imported crystal malts, and Centennial hops.
7.5% ABV, 85 BU

This seasonal one-off from the brewery is a deep and flavorful winter brew. A solid malt profile is hopped English-style, with Brewers Gold and Fuggles, and spiced with bitter and sweet orange peel to bring it all together. Sweet malts and light candy greet you in the nose. Light hop spice notes and malt on the palate lead to a smooth mellow malty finish with just a hint of hop spice and bite. Just like the first frost, it's a sign of things to come. Servus!
6.8% ABV / 70 IBU 

Hard Bop Brown
Open fermented with Upright's new house ardennes yeast.  Perle and Cascade hops in the kettle and a Centennial dryhop create a strong, hoppy, winterized Brown ale.
9% abv,  55 ibu's

The Prophet
A English Old Ale brewed with 5 kinds of malt, including honey and chocolate malts, along with 50lbs of Belgian candy sugar and 12lbs of raisins. This ale delivers a complex yet balanced mouthful of holiday spirit coupled with a slightly sweet finish.
7.8% abv, 75 IBUs 

Lucky Lab
What's a Winter Ale Fest without a  Russian Imperial Stout? Brewed with loads of roasted and caramel malt and graciously hopped this ruskie is big and bold!
9.5%abv,  65 IBUs 

Caldera- Coconut Porter

Saturday December 10th 12pm-1opm 21+
Amnesia Brewing
832 North Beech Street  Portland, OR 97227
(503) 281-7708

New Oregon Breweries: Bull Ridge & Falling Sky Coming Soon

Falling Sky's Brewhouse being delivered - Photo via Facebook
There is no shortage of new breweries on the way to the state of Oregon. While new openings like Gigantic Brewing in Portland have received a lot of attention, everyone is still asking how many are too many and when do we reach the point of saturation? Well, two new breweries in the works are restoring my faith; let me introduce Bull Ridge Brew Pub and Falling Sky Brewing.

Behind The Pint with Lompoc Brewing: Blending Cherry Christmas

This Tuesday, November 29th, Lompoc Brewing unleashes 9 of 10 different beers made for the holidays at their Sidebar location. One of them in particular caught our attention--Cherry Christmas is a beer made entirely from other finished beers, many of them barrel-aged and some brewed with cherries and wild yeasts. The components of this blend were carefully chosen and painstakingly blended for this week's Holiday Ale Festival (where it will also be poured). Lompoc Head Brewer Dave Fleming, Lead Cellarman/Brewer Bryan Kielty, Lompoc owner Jerry Fechter, and Holiday Ale Fest director Preston Weesner concocted the blend while "SNOB" Ritch and I got to sit in. Check out an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the blending process and interviews with Dave Fleming and Bryan Kielty:

Of course, Cherry Christmas is not Lompoc's only new holiday release. There are actually 9 others, including annual favorite Old Tavern Rat, which will be available in bottles for the first time this year. Read below for my tasting notes on the beers.

A Guide to Black Friday Drinking

Today is Black Friday, the day where shoppers across America stake out department stores all night to get the best deals. Now the deals are stretching all the way to you local taphouse. Roscoe's, The Green Dragon, Saraveza, and The Beermongers are all hosting special events to commemorate the day otherwise known as Buy Nothing Day. Below is a rundown of what is happening at all 4 of these great beer bars.

The New School & Brewvana's StripCrawl 2011

The New School presents the third, the most-requested, and certainly the edgiest of our monthly connoisseur tours with Brewvana Brewery Tours - StripCrawl 2011: An Unclothed Experience.

Sponsored by Coalition Brewing, StripCrawl 2011 will take you to some of PDX's most well-known stripclubs, as well as some you may never have heard of. Portland is known for not only having more craft breweries than any city in the world, but also having the most strip clubs of any city per capita. Along the way good beer will be provided via a keg of Wu Cream from our wonderful sponsors, Coalition Brewing. The best part? For reading The New School you get a special discount code for 30% Off! Just enter "Beer4Boobs" at checkout.

Both of the previous New School tours have sold out, so get your tickets now. More details below.

Review: Stone Brewing's Vertical Epic Ale 11.11.11

Stone Brewing Co. San Diego Beer Week Events

with Anaheim chilies and cinnamon

Stone Brewing Co. has released the second to last of their annual Vertical Epic Ale series, this version being 11.11.11. Begun on February 2nd, 2002 (02.02.02), each beer has been a bottle-conditioned ale and, something I did not realize until just now, they all had a Belgian-influence and were meant to be aged, with little else in common.

This lastest edition to the series is late reaching Portland, but should be hitting shelves starting today at local bottle shops, along with Stone's new collaboration with The Bruery and Elysian called La Citrueille CĂ©leste de Citracado, which I already reviewed.
This year’s base beer for the Vertical Epic is similar to a Belgian amber, but is tweaked with the addition of cracked cinnamon sticks and mild but flavorful Anaheim chilies from New Mexico’s Hatch Valley. Check out my review below.

Brewer/Brewery Profile: Bend Brewing & Tonya Cornett

Tonya Cornett and new Bend Head Brewer Ian Larkin
Bend Brewing's location in the heart of downtown Bend is surprisingly empty during the weekday happy hour. This is strange, considering it is one of the first breweries I think of when considering this beery city, right behind Deschutes. Brewmaster Tonya Cornett really put the small brewpub on the map with all the medals she has racked up from GABF and World Beer Cup. You get the sense in other areas of the country that she is a celebrity, but here Bend is just another brewpub in a small city chock full of them.

Corvallis or Bust: Block 15 & Les Caves Release Parties this Weekend

Not long ago I made the case for Corvallis, OR, as a new beer destination. This Saturday is no better a time to check out the town, as Block 15 Brewing releases Batch #2 of Figgy Pudding and a super limited 12oz bottle release of Imagine, a Belgian-style Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, of which only 40 cases will be sold at the brewery.

To top it off, the new spinoff European/Belgian inspired beer bar and restaurant, Les Caves (aka Bier Caves), will be celebrating its Grand Opening with a special super rare taplist and food menu. The restaurant is located on the same block as Block 15, and Flat Tail Brewing is just a few blocks down the street.

(Read about Figgy Pudding here)     (Check out our Sneak Preview and Review of Les Caves here)

Full weekend taplist at Les Caves and Menu below:

Gordon Ramsay Learns to Homebrew

Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay decides he needs to brew his own beer in his new show The F Word, and he wants one to pair with veal. While not the most suprising video (especially for homebrewers), the clip above is entertaining just for his reactions and the beers he tries to pair with veal. It almost seems like he does not even like beer.

It gets more interesting in Parts 2 and 3 when he actually brews beer and adds it to barrels, then bottles it via a mobile bottling truck. Rest of the videos below:

Behind The Pint: Sierra Nevada's Brewmaster Steve Dresler

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company celebrated its 30th Anniversary last year, and Brewmaster Steve Dresler has been there for nearly all of them. He visited Portland recently for a couple events.

I got a chance to speak with Steve on a variety of subjects, including Sierra Nevada's upcoming wild collaboration with Russian River, how things have changed from the early days, exciting new hop varieties, and details on new seasonals like a Rye IPA and brandy barrel-aging projects.

(See our interview with Sierra Nevada's Terence Sullivan who heads up the Base Camp program)

Meanwhile, while I was out of town New School contributor and Breakside Brewery Brewmaster Ben Edmunds attended Mr. Dresler's Beer Camp at Sunshine Tavern, where Steve discussed everything from beer and food pairings to lost barrel-aged beers and special projects. Take it away Ben:

Reviews of 3 Widmer Brothers New Releases

Widmer Brothers, long Portland's best known brewery, has recently released a number of new beers that should excite craft beer fans. The latest in the ongoing Rotator IPA series, O' Ryely IPA, is now out in 6 packs, along with this year's barrel-aged edition of Brrrbon '11, vintage Brrrbon '10, and a brand new Brothers Reserve beer called Lemongrass Wheat Ale. These beers could not be any more different.

An Insider's Eugene Beer Tour

This past Saturday was the New School's second brewery tour collaboration with Brewvana Brewery Tours. The monthly series of tours will offer an inside look and special opportunities for craft beer lovers outside of the company's normal beer tours. This one was the Eugene VIP Tour, and our locations were Ninkasi Brewing, Oakshire Brewing, 16 Tons, and Hop Valley Brewing. Along the way we picked up Ninkasi co-owner Jamie Floyd, who acted as our host and gave us the VIP insiders experience.

Bend Brewcation

Bend photo from Mutineer Magazine
Today I leave for a little brewcation in Bend, OR. Bend has one of the highest per capita brewery counts in the nation, being the home of Deschutes Brewery, Bend Brewing, 10 Barrel, Silver Moon, Boneyard, recently-opened Good Life Brewing, and a couple of future breweries, including ex-Laurelwood Brewmaster Chad Kennedy's Worthy Brewing and Deschutes Brewmaster Larry Sidor's new project, 512 Brewing.

No beer vacation would be complete without a little work/fun, so I have already planned a behind-the-scenes tour of Deschutes Brewery's new expansion, as well as meetings with recently promoted Brewmaster Cam O'Connor and the aforementioned exiting top dog, Larry Sidor. Separately, I plan to visit the smaller Deschutes brewpub and meet up with their Head Brewer, the lovely Veronica Vega, and tip a few pints.

The first thing on my schedule after checking in at the McMenamin's Old St. Francis School hotel and brewery is to head over to 10 Barrel's new 60-barrel production brewery to meet up with Brewmaster Jimmy Seifrit.

On Thursday I plan to get some lunch and meet up with the star of  The Love of Beer - Bend Brewing's Brewmaster Tonya Cornett.

I also hope to be meeting up for a pint with Worthy Brewing's Chad Kennedy.

Somewhere in my busy schedule I'll also try to fit in trips to Silver Moon and Boneyard.

Expect many photos, interviews, and breaking Bend beer news next week.

Ninkasi & 21st Amendment: Allies Win The War!

A new Ninkasi beer will be hitting shelves sometime this week. A collaboration with San Francisco's 21st Amendment Brewing, it will be Ninkasi's first offering to be packaged in a can. Ninkasi co-founder and frontman Jamie Floyd goes back a longtime with 21st Amendment co-founder Shaun O' Sullivan to their days brewing together at Eugene's Steelhead Brewing. I got an early release sample can of their new Allies Win The War! - a dark strong ale brewed with dates - just in time for the two Portland release parties this coming Thursday.

Photo Review: 2nd Annual Night of the Living Ales

Last Saturday's main event was the second annual Night of the Living Ales at Burnside Brewing. Evolving from its origins as a pub crawl in its first year to a full-blown Halloween-themed craft beer fest this time around, the event was an inarguable success with over 50,0 attendees. One of the more unique craft beer events of the year, if I do say so myself, we have the pictures and the stories to prove it... (Caution: Some images may not be safe for work)

Willamette Week Delves into Beer Reviews, Fails Miserably

It is disheartening that local print publications such as the Willamette Week and the Portland Mercury devote no space to craft beer columns in their home of Beervana. So when I saw WW actually post a real beer review on their website for Logsdon's Farmhouse Ale, I was excited. However, after reading said guest writer's "review" and yesterday's joke of a post on Hopworks Abominable Winter Ale (the A-Bomb), I was nearly irate.

Review: Deschutes 2011 The Abyss

It is almost time for another year's version of The Abyss, Deschutes Brewery's incredibly popular Imperial Stout. The 2011 edition is being released just under a week from now, and I have already received my sample bottle. The other night I sat down with two other New School contributors to see if this year's version lives up to the hype.

APEX Embraces the Darkness

Apex, perhaps Portland's best outdoor, fair weather-friendly taphouse, is not mourning the loss of our sunny days, but is instead embracing the darkness of winter. In celebration of the growing nighttime darkness, cold winds, and fall leaves, they will be pouring a wide selection of dark & strong beers for the long weekend starting Thursday, November 10th, at 5pm and running through Sunday the 13th.

There will be over 40 big, bad, dark, and/or strong beers on tap at APEX. Many will be barrel-aged, with some sours, lots of imperials, and even one or two multi year verticals. Quite a few are unpronounceable, and a respectable number are downright unreasonable. So, figure out a way to get home safely afterwards, and be sure to join us to EMBRACE THE DARKNESS!

Embrace the Darkness
5PM, Thursday, November 10th - Sunday November 13th
1216 se Division St. Portland, OR  97202