|all photos by "SNOB" Ritch © The New School|
You may have caught Base Camp's first large-batch beer, the Hoptastic Voyage fresh hop beer, on tap in Portland already. The brewery's year-round flagship beer, "In-Tents" Pale Ale, has also been released in unique 22oz bottle-cans available from General Distributors and in specialty bottleshops now.
I just got an early taste of what will be on tap at the official opening Friday and can offer a sneak peak at what to expect from the beers and the taproom.
The guys have nothing if not an attention to detail, and they recognize that experience is everything. From the canoe that hangs from tall ceilings over the bar to the mural of photos that hangs above the taps, the Base Camp team has done a great job communicating what it's are all about.
Beautiful mountain wilderness photography, salvaged wood tables and boulders, lanterns hanging from the ceilings, and gravel firepits outdoors give the Base Camp tasting room a vibe found nowhere else in Portland.
Though not finished yet, beautiful taster trays carved into treated logs are being handbuilt in the back, a great reminder of camping trips and fire pits.
About the beers themselves: the flagship In-Tents India Pale Lager is surprisingly malty and creamy for a "Pale Lager." Not to say it's not tasty, it just reads to the palate more like a hoppy Amber or India Red Ale.
The Brown Ale was sort of a mess; not brown at all, it takes on a hazy orange color of a NW unfiltered Pale. The flavor is similar, hop-forward with a mild malt background and none of the malty or nutty character you would look for in the style. Not a bad beer, but I'm very unsure of what it is trying to be.
S'More Stout is tasty and has a hint of marshmallow, though not particularly of graham cracker or chocolate. The experience of the presentation of the beer may leave many with a great impression, though; for now they are garnishing the glasses with a marshmallow that they than toast with a hand torch behind the bar.
There is also an unpronounceable Kolsch-style beer that was probably the best of the lineup. A bit more of an ale-like Kolsch and with the hops of a pale ale, it has a nice breadiness with spicy hops and a snappy finish.
I also enjoyed the fresh hop, but it's getting a bit long in the tooth for the season.
Check out Base Camp's grand opening this weekend on Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm.
Base Camp Brewing
930 Southeast Oak Street Portland, OR 97214