Alameda Brewing's Cooking Up New Beers for Your Valentine

Alameda Brewing, located on the popular stretch of Fremont in Northeast Portland that I do not visit nearly often enough, has a handful of new releases out now. When I visited last week Head Brewer Carston Haney and Assistant Brewer Marshall were showing off wax dipped bottles of "My Bloody Valentine".

VIP Astoria Tour for Fort George Stout Month

Fort George Brewing is planning the biggest & best Stout Month to date this February, and the brewery has teamed up with Brewvana Brewery Tours and Tim Ensign of Powered By Yeast + The New School to offer a one-of-a-kind overnight Astoria craft beer experience on Saturday, February 25th. Of course, readers of The New School will also get a 25% discount with our promo code.

Chatoe Rogue Hopfields declared Disaster Area

I was sad to come upon news on BeerAdvocate that Rogue Brewing's Chatoe Rogue hopyards in Independence, OR, have been destroyed by flooding. Not long ago "SNOB" Ritch and I camped out there for Hop Madness and had a great time at the pretty and quaint (though bit rundown) farm. (Full story from our trip). I wonder if this also spells disaster for the Chatoe Rogue line of beers made from hops grown on this farm?

From Beer Advocate (probably from a press release from Rogue):

INDEPENDENCE, OR, January 26, 2012 – The Chatoe Rogue Hopyard has been declared a Disaster Area after widespread flooding.

The Chatoe Rogue Hopyard is located in Oregon’s Wigrich Appellation near the small, historic hop-growing town of Independence.

The Hopyard borders the Willamette River, which has slowly begun to recede since cresting over the banks early Saturday. Accompanied by heavy rainfall, melting snow and flooding creeks, the water has inundated the roads leading to the Farm, stranding Rogue Farmhand, Natascha Cronin, and Farmstead Brewer, Josh Cronin.

The Cronin’s continue to keep a tight watch on the Farm, which grows a variety of GYO Certified Hops, Rye, Pumpkins, Sweet Woodruff, Berries, Honey and Experimental Barley, as well as 23 Free-Range Chickens, Turkeys and two Pot-Bellied Piglets.

Farming and growing your own ingredients has its disadvantages – you are always at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Deschutes Releases Chainbreaker White IPA in 6 Packs

I heard this was to happen awhile ago, Deschutes other White IPA, Chainbreaker is to become a regular lineup addition in 12oz bottles and six packs in March. Their other more well publicized White IPA Conflux #2 a collaboration with Boulevard Brewing is gone. I wonder if some kind of co-ownership or profit sharing caused Deschutes to move on with their own rendition of the style Actually my understanding is that Chainbreaker was one of the original test batches for Conflux that Portland pub brewer Ryan Schmiege developed and I actually prefer it over the collab. Chainbreaker has less herbal character that made Conflux hard to drink much of for me.

More info below

Sierra Nevada Opening Asheville-area Eastern Brewery Expansion

After much buzz and speculation Sierra Nevada Brewing (the #2 craft brewery in the country) has announced they will be constructing a new production brewery and pub on the east coast. This should help expand their reach and allow for fresher and cheaper beer to the other half of the country. From the press release:

Video: Gigantic Brewing Collaboration Brew Day at Pelican

The second video to come out of Gigantic Brewing which will become a recurring feature for their online presence is this one made while brewing their first collaboration beer with Pelican Brewery in Pacific City. Check out their first video Master Brewer Theater which premiered on The New School.
Pelican (feat. Gigantic Brewing) Collabo Brew Day: Schwarzenfreude Baltic Porter from Gigantic Brewing Company on Vimeo.

The Greg Koch Interviews Part 2: Stone Brewing's CEO on CDA vs Black IPA

Recently I interviewed the controversial co-founder of Stone Brewing, Mr. Greg Koch, during his trip to Portland. In Part 1 of our interview we talked largely about marketing and the craft beer business, and I anticipated it to be the less controversial of the two parts. However, Jeff Alworth of Beervana took note and objected to Greg's debatable style arguments.

In today's Part 2 Finale, I also debate Greg on style arguments. Of particular interest was the ongoing debate on the merits of our beloved Cascadian Dark Ale vs Black IPA, of which Greg is one of the most vocal proponents. Hold on to your hats...  Be sure to watch the credits.

An Interview with Josh Pfriem of the upcoming Pfriem Brewery

The Hood River News recently reported a new brewery coming to downtown Hood River called Pfriem Brewery. Founded by experienced brewer and Full Sail alum Josh Pfriem and his partners, Pfriem Brewery plans to specialize in both Belgian-styles that will be sold in caged and corked bottles and Northwest-style hoppy beers. The brewery will occupy a nice large warehouse space and plans to have a tasting room. This will be another addition to the quickly multiplying brewery scene in the Gorge, along with the upcoming Solera Brewery and not quite year old Logsdon Farmhouse Ales.

I got ahold of owner/brewer Josh Pfriem to interview him and gain a little more insight into his plans, how he plans to stand out, what kind of beers he likes, and how his experience in craft beer has shaped what he plans to brew.

Gigantic Brewing: Larger Than Life

Ben Love standing and Van Havig sitting in the Gigantic construction
The new brewery from Ben Love of Hopworks and Van Havig of Rock Bottom aims to be huge, even Gigantic (Brewing) as they call it. Well not really, it is a tongue in cheek name for what will be a small operation; however, both of them are certainly giants in the world of Beervana. The other day I made a trip down to the construction site and gleaned some new information about the highly anticipated new brewery.

Block 15 Brewing's Super Nebula Stout Revealed

Block 15 Brewing just continues to impress. We have been singing their praises here at The New School for the last year, and I need to add one more compliment. Their dedication to quality continues with their labels; while there are some great breweries that have terrible labels, Block 15 does not cut any corners, and this newly revealed label for Super Nebula may be the best one yet. As a label artist myself as well as a beer geek. I often want to do labels for the breweries I love, but these Block 15 ones I can't improve upon.

Bridgetown Beerhouse: Stone/Ninkasi More Brown Than Black IPA draft release

The first of a very small number of kegs of The Alchemist / Ninkasi / Stone: More Brown Than Black IPA collaboration beer is tapping today, Thursday, January 19th, from 5-7pm at our favorite remodeled bottleshop, Bridgetown Beerhouse. Better yet, Jamie Floyd of Ninkasi will be on hand, and the Beerhouse will be pouring a number of other beers, like Stone Ruination Imperial IPA and Ninkasi Imperiale. This is a great opportunity to check out the new taps installed at Bridgetown Beerhouse, so head over and enjoy a beer while picking up a bottle to go.
915 N. Shaver off of Mississippi Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

The Greg Koch Interviews Part 1: Stone Brewing's CEO on the Beer Business

Recently I got a chance to interview Greg Koch, the CEO and often controversial co-founder of Stone Brewing Co. He had been on my list of people I wanted to meet for a while now, and he seemed eager, as the main proponent of using the term 'Black IPA' instead of the controversial 'Cascadian Dark Ale', to debate the merits of the terminology. Of course, I did not want our entire conversation to be a debate, so in this first video we talk about the craft beer business, marketing, the new Stone hotel, and new beers and projects Stone has in the pipeline. Mr Koch was in a mellow mood, contrasting the public perception of a loud and brash showman. He showed up to the Horse Brass Pub at 12:30pm with a cup of Stumptown coffee, a new beard, and a quiet demeanor.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where the conversation gets more intense as we turn to the Black IPA vs. CDA debate.

The New School & Brewvana Present the Corvallis VIP Tour with Block 15

On Saturday, February 4th, Block 15 Brewing in Corvallis is releasing bottles of Batch 2 of Pappy's Dark Ale, as well as the lost barrels of Super Nebula. It is a terrific time to check out the brew scene in Corvallis, and for the occassion The New School has teamed up with Brewvana Brewery Tours once again to offer a bus ride to and from Corvallis. The trip will feature stops at Corvallis's top spots with the brewers and owners, including Flat Tail Brewing and Nick Arzner's new Les Caves bier cafe and bistro. Even better, we will make a stop at Calapooia Brewing, another small brewpub in nearby Albany that I have actually never been to. Finally, we finish off the tour with an exclusive barrel room tasting and tour at Block 15 with owner Nick Arzner.

We will be doing more than just visiting each of these breweries on the Brewvana tour bus; we'll be getting behind-the-scenes tours, meeting with the brewers, and trying beers not yet available on tap. Even better, you can get 25% off a seat on the bus with The New School and promo code "NewSchoolBeer".

Upright Brewing's Fantasia

The latest and most highly anticipated release of the year from Upright Brewing is called 'Fantasia' (pronounced fan-tah-zee-uh) and has just been announced for a Friday, January 20th release date at the brewery and tasting room. The beer is in the vein of a Lambic style of wild beer, though it does not use wheat and of course is not spontaneously fermented. What makes it extra unique, though, is that it was fermented entirely in oak barrels, never even touching a traditional stainless steel fermenter, and those barrels were stuffed with fresh peaches from Baird Family Orchards.

More behind the scenes on the making of the beer and its release info below.

Weekend Happenings in Beervana

It's another one of those random weekends in Beervana where there seems to be 20 million events for no particular reason. It's just one of those random convergences of craft beer goodness that are more and more common in Portland these days. Among the highlights this weekend are events from Lompoc Brewing, Upright Brewing, The Hop & Vine, East Burn and Uptown Market.

Laurelwood's Collaboration Brewers Dinner

Vasilios Gletsos - Photo by Matt Wiater of
On Wednesday, February 8th, Laurelwood Brewing Co. is hosting a one-of-a-kind beer dinner featuring a concept revolving around the company's newish Brewmaster, Vasilios Gletsos.

Collaboration beers are nothing new, and even Laurelwood has already done collaboration brewer's dinners, but this may be the first where all the beers were brewed specifically for this dinner and each one with a Brewmaster that Vasilios once worked with/under at other breweries. The dinner will feature collaboration beers brewed by Vasilios himself, Alex Ganum of Upright Brewing, Van Havig of Gigantic Brewing Co., and Tom Bleigh of Hopworks Urban Brewery. These exclusive handcrafted ales will be served with a five-course dinner prepared by Laurelwood’s Executive Chef Aaron Nichols. Tickets are $50 per person and available at the NE Portland and Battle Ground, WA Laurelwood locations. 

Beer Hunter: The Movie

I usually feel pretty dubious about Kickstarter projects, but I feel compelled to highlight an important new project. It's another beer documentary, focusing on the late great beer writer Michael Jackson. If you're not familiar with the man, his television series, The Beer Hunter, and books did more to bring craft beer into the mainstream than perhaps anyone else.

This new project, simply titled Beer Hunter: The Movie, is from John Richards, one of the men who followed Michael around for years with a camera. The film aims to piece together old footage of him to tell the story of both the man and his beer adventures, and maybe will even start the Beer Hunter series anew using many hours of unused archival footage. It is important to resurrect these videos, both as vital pieces of history and to better understand the international world of craft beer and those who make it so great.

Breakside Brewery News

One of the most interesting Portland breweries, Breakside Brewery, always keeps its taplist interesting, whether it be with a vast array of adjunct beers like the Cedarbaumbier (on tap at the pub now) or the Hoppy Hoppy Nanobeer brewed in collaboration with Ben Love of Gigantic Brewing. All in all, in 2011 Breakside Head Brewer Ben Edmunds and assistant Sam Barber released 92 different beers. To start off this month they have 7 new beers on tap, and this is on top of expansion plans for a second location in the works now.

Deschutes: Go Big or Go Home

As the biggest brewery in Bend and largest craft brewery in the state, Deschutes Brewery has big dreams. Currently the 8th largest craft brewer in the US according to the Brewers Association, Deschutes is not content to sit idly. The company has some big goals, such as reaching 1,000,000 barrels of production by 2020, which is the number that until recently was the point at which a brewery is no longer considered a "craft" producer until the Boston Beer Co., aka Samuel Adams, lobbied to get that number increased. While touring Deschutes's massive production brewery puts things into perspective, it's still kind of shocking to realize that even now they are only about a third the size of Samuel Adams.

2011: A Year in Photos

Late night drinking in Vancouver, BC with Jamie Floyd, Ben Love, Yetta Vorobik we came upon this sign
Sometimes the old axiom is true--a picture says a thousand words. 2011 was a great year in beer. It was perhaps my most adventursome year yet, as well as most photographed. Being an artist by trade and not a writer, the images on The New School are often as important to me as the text, so this annual post featuring the best photographs from the last year is one of my favorites. It is also a great excuse to relive the last year, and for me to post pictures I may have not had the chance to use because they did not fit into a story or were intended for pieces I never got around to writing. Overall it's like a photobook of friends and good times.

Video: A Day in The Life of A Brewer

A cool promo video extremely well produced and executed by Goose Island to music by Sufjan Stevens makes for some soothing watching. I wouldn't go so far as to say it glamorizes the brewery and the city it resides in (Chicago) but certainly romanticizes both, it's beautiful and endearing if not a little over-dramatic. Certainly worth a watch for the photography and behind-the-scenes images alone:

Review Panel: Red Hook Down Under Stout

Red Hook is becoming a more interesting brewery these days, especially with the introduction of its Blueline Series of beers. Recently I received a sample of the latest in the series, "Down Under Stout", which has a tagline that says "Dark, smooth, and goes down easy." The beer is also curiously described as an Australian-style sweet stout. Before we get into our review scores and tasting notes, I talked to Red Hook Brewmaster Greg Deuhs about what went into making the beer and what exactly makes it Australian in nature.

Shawn Kelso leaves Barley Browns for 10 Barrel Brewing

It looks like the cat is out of the bag. Shawn Kelso, the GABF Gold Medal-winning brewer at Barley Browns in Baker City, OR, has left the small brewpub he helped put on the map to join the 10 Barrel Brewing team. It's an announcement I hinted at in my recent writeup on The Rise of 10 Barrel, which also broke the news of their upcoming Boise, ID brewery location where Shawn Kelso will become the Head Brewer. Much like Tonya Cornett at 10 Barrel's smaller brewery in Bend, we will see Kelso have free reign at the new Idaho facility. It is very sad to see him leave the state of Oregon, but luckily he will still be close by, and hopefully we will still get to try his brews.

New Brew Odyssey: Breakside Brewery's 2011 Adjunct Almanac

In the last year Breakside Brewery's Head Brewer and New School contributor Ben Edmunds has become known for his experimental beers of which are constantly being rotated at the NE Portland brewpub. Many of these beers use strange and unique adjuncts to flavor, complement and spice the beer. With the aforementioned experience Ben Edmunds has put together a guide to various adjuncts that he thought would be useful to Brewers everywhere from the experienced to the novice. - Samurai Artist

As I sit down to write this post, the fermentors at Breakside are full and I see that there’s only one beer left to brew on our 2011 calendar. In all, we’ve made 92 different beers at the pub this year, learning lots about the various ingredients we’ve incorporated along the way. Some of that includes the fun of working with different base malts, the challenges of finding substitute hops when our supply of Citra and Amarillo ran dry, and the learning curve with bringing in a new yeast strains. It also includes all the Reinheitsgebot–forbidden ingredients that I love to use in the brewery. Over the last few months, it seems like we’ve been on an especially adjunct-heavy kick using a number of less common fruits, herbs, spices, and so on in some of the beers. (At the same time, we’ve also been making a series of traditional lagers, for what it’s worth.)