Pelican Brewery Announces new Collaboration Beer, Expansion & More

Our friends at Pelican Brewery on the Oregon coast have announced some exciting new developments, including a brand new bottled beer brewed in collaboration with Red Rock Brewing Co of Salt Lake City, Utah. Also among the news is a brewery expansion, a new brewers dinner, spring seasonal releases, and a food and beer festival in Seaside.

Widmer Brothers 924 Series Oatmeal Porter and Other Upcoming Beers

As early as this week, Portland's #1 "craft" brewery, Widmer Brothers, is releasing the latest in its 924 series of 4packs in 12oz bottles, Oatmeal Porter. The 924 series is a step up from straight up releases like the brewery's famous Hefeweizen, but not as expensive or extreme as, say, the Brothers Reserve series that features high alcohol and barrel-aged extreme beers. The series is instead meant to be an approachable beer for the causal beer geek.

2012 SF Beer Week - Part 1

San Francisco is a bit like a Portland on speed. The craft beer scene there, while still nowhere near as advanced or pervasive as Portland's, is on a fast track. It moves at such a breakneck pace that you can barely keep up with the latest beer bar and special beer tapping, and it is never crazier than during SF Beer Week. The 2012 edition of this most epic of beer weeks has essentially just been blessed by the entire state of California. The state legislature passed a resolution yesterday making February "California Craft Beer Month", giving the Golden State what Oregon has been holding over everyone else for years.

The astounding number of events during SF Beer Week (over 300 this year) further bolsters my point that these guys are like Portland on crack. In 2011 Oregon Craft Beer Month had 200 or so events over the entirety of July, about a hundred short of what SF did in just 10 days. However, bigger is not necessarily better, and just because they have so many more events does not make the event superior.

But, for my money, SF Beer Week does trump OCBM ,and that is coming from a native Portlander. Yes, the amount of events is overwhelming, and it's frustrating to not be able to attend everything, but SF Beer Week does leave you walking away wanting more.

Beer Camp with Lompoc's Bryan Keilty

SE Division's Sunshine Tavern hosts an occasional Beer Camp series of educational tasting events, the most recent installment with Sierra Nevada's Steve Dressler. The next Beer Camp focuses on one of our own, the award winning Bryan Keilty, brewmaster at Lompoc Brewing who is responsible for many of the barrel-aged and blended beers you find at the Sidebar. The event takes place this coming Saturday, March 3, and costs $60.

Join Bryan as he walks campers through an afternoon of learning and tasting, followed by a three-course cozy meal complete with beer pairings and a good buzz. 

Beers on tap will include Kick Axe Dry Hopped Pale Ale, Batch 69 Baltic Porter, Bob's Memorial Braggot, Centennial IPA and Bourbon Barrel Aged LSD.

Lompoc Beer Camp at the Sunshine Tavern
Saturday, March 3rd
Camp starts at 4:00pm with dinner to follow
Cost: $60 (gratuity not included)
Call 503.288.6200 for a reservation.

Darkness Descended on Astoria

Last weekend found the New School crew scattered around the region at different beer events. While Samurai Artist was exploring the plethora of options at SF Beer Week, I headed to the coast for a weekend getaway with my lovely wife. (This is to say nothing of Zwicklemania, which surprisingly went uncovered by other local blogs as well.) On Saturday we found ourselves at Fort George Brewery in Astoria, which was hosting the first Festival of the Dark Arts. The festival highlighted the brewery's ongoing February Stout Month celebration by bringing in stouts from other Oregon breweries, along with music, artists, and performers that all traded in dark and sinister themes.

Burnside Brewing Releases Neptune's Wrath in Bottles

This coming Tuesday Burnside Brewing is releasing its first specialty beer to bottles. Neptune's Wrath is quite a unique beer and will be bottled in a format similar to brewer Jason Mcadam's old project, Epic Ale at the defunct Roots Organic Brewing, which was sold in Magnum sized bottles.

16 Tons IPA Fest in Eugene Features 70 Beers

Our friends in Eugene, 16 Tons Taphouse and Bottleshop, are throwing a fest for the #1 craft beer style. The simply-named IPA Fest is coming up on March 10th and 11th and will feature 70 different IPAs, including 18 on tap. Confirmed beers include: Boneyard Notorious, Dogfish Head 120 Minute, Russian River Pliny the Elder, Green Flash Palate Wrecker, Avery Maharaja, Hopworks Ace of Spades, Block 15 Six Hop Wonder, and Brewer's Union Union Dew (cask).

2012 American Craft Beer Week Announced

Now in its 7th year, the Brewers Association has announced this years American Craft Beer Week® (ACBW), a celebration of U.S. craft brewers across the country. The BA calls it the "Mother of all beer weeks." I don't know about that, because I don't recall any local events in Portland for it last year, though I might be forgetting some. Still, across the country last year, all 50 states hosted official ACBW events, marking the largest-ever celebration of craft beer in America that included over 1,500 events at more than 1,300 different breweries and retailers. Perhaps we will see some more action on it this year in PDX, or perhaps not. Between Oregon Craft Beer Month and the upcoming Portland Beer Week, we already have enough going on. From the Brewers Association press release:

In 2012, ACBW will once again provide an opportunity for small and independent brewers, craft beer enthusiasts and the community of better beer retailers to celebrate the ever-advancing beer culture and epicurean art form in the U.S. Events include exclusive brewery tours, special beer releases, multi-course food and beer pairing dinners, collaboration beers and much more.       

Double Mountain Brewery Celebrates Milestone 5th Anniversary with the Meat Puppets

Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom is breaking out the big guns for their 5th anniversary this St. Patrick's Day on Saturday March 17th. They have scored a bigtime act The Meat Puppets to headline a live music lineup that includes local favorites The Quick & Easy Boys, The Resoletrics and Pour on the Floor. Owners Charlie Devereux and Matt Swihart write on their blog:
"It seems like yesterday that we (Matt & Charlie) were scrounging for tanks and money, demo-ing the space that would become our Taproom, and working on the vision or what Double Mountain would become. Among the many albums we’d play to keep us entertained in those dark days was a healthy dose of the Pups, especially the classic “Meat Puppets II”. Guitarist Curt Kirkwood’s songwriting and amazing electric guitar skills have inspired countless armies of young musicians, and the band’s live shows have always delivered. He’ll be joined onstage by brother and musical partner Chris Kirkwood, his son Elmo, and drummer Shandon Sahm (son of fellow music legend Doug Sahm). We jumped at the chance to have them headline our special day."
Beers on tap include a special vintage keg of a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Brown Ale and the kitchen will be featuring food specials including the regular menu. A large tent will be erected in front of the brewery with doors opening at noon and music starting at 1pm. Admission is free and the fest is family friendly until 8pm.

Worthy Brewing begins Construction and more Info

This Friday the new ambitious brewing project Worthy Brewing from Chad Kennedy (ex-Laurelwood Brewmaster) and Roger Worthington (of Indie Hops) breaks ground in Bend, OR. Recently the recipient of a new logo pictured above more details about the project have been revealed as they move closer to putting the first shovel in the ground.

Elysian Brings the Rapture to Bailey's Taproom

Elysian Brewing is set to hold a Portland release of the latest in its 12 Beers of the Apocalypse series today Tuesday, February 21st from 6-9pm at Bailey's Taproom.
A beer of opulent proportions, Rapture gives the doomsayers a run for their money at 7.65% abv. A pound per barrel of high country heather tips in both the mash and toward the end of the boil give Rapture floral and piney notes against a bill of pale, Munich, and Patagonia Especial malts. Bittered with Magnum and finished with Northwest Glacier hops, the starting gravity 18.25 °P / (1.074).

From the Press Release:
Elysian Brewery, Fantagraphics, and Bailey's Taproom will officially release Series 2 of Elysian's 12 Beers of the Apocalypse, RAPTURE HEATHER ALE!! Rapture will be released on tap and available in bottles, alongside a line-up of Elysian and other killer brews. Elysian's local Beer Enthusiast, PDX Dave, will be on hand to join in the revelry and give out some cool stuff.

In The Brewers Studio with Shawn Kelso by Jacob Leonard

Shawn Kelso (left) and Jacob Leonard recently at Belmont Station
[Editors Note: Last August The New School started a week long 5 interview series featuring professional craft brewers interviewing other pros in the industry. It offered a unique perspective and different questions than I might ask and was some of the most entertaining reading for me on this site. Today we continue that series with guest writer Jacob Leonard who for many years worked as the Brewmaster at Walking Man Brewing before relocating to Portland and the Widmer Brothers.]
By Jacob Leonard
Recently, Ezra asked if I would be interested in choosing one of my fellow brewers to interview for the New School. The first person that came to mind was Shawn Kelso of Barley Brown’s. Not only is he one of the most talented brewers in Oregon, he also happens to be one of the nicest guys in the industry. He has had great success at Barley Brown’s, and his beers are delicious and highly sought after. After 11 years, he will be leaving Barley Brown’s to join the all-star team that 10 Barrel Brewing is assembling.

Lucky Lab Barleywine and Big Beer Fest

The 16th Annual Barleywine and Big Beer Fest is coming up soon. This year's fest will take place at Lucky Lab's NW Quimby Beer Hall on Friday and Saturday, March 2-3, from noon-10pm. The fest is one of my favorites of the year, and seems to fly somewhat under the radar. It's not strictly for barleywine fans; there will be imperial IPAs, strong Belgian ales, and imperial stouts to sample alongside the barleywines. I'm also struggling to think of an event that features a wider variety of barrel-aged and vintage beers. There will be a few verticals available during each session, and beers will change out as the individual kegs run dry.

Lucky Lab Brewer Ben Flerchinger with his bounty of vintage kegs.
This past weekend I attended the media preview event at the brewery, where we got to sample and do some quality control on over 30 kegs that Lucky Lab Brewer Ben Flerchinger has been aging for the past few years. We found that a few of the kegs had taken a turn for the worse, but the vast majority ranged from acceptable to sublime. A few favorites of mine:

2007 Lucky Lab Old Yeller - This aged barleywine was fairly fruity and very hoppy for something that had a few years on it. A mild tartness from oxidation on the finish keeps it from being completely perfect.

2010 Ninkasi Critical Hit - This is a super hoppy and boozy barleywine with a nice, sharp hoppy edge.

2011 North Coast Old Stock Ale - Sweet, with big notes of brown sugar and bready malt. Very nice now, I think it will age well, too.

2010 Lucky Lab Son of Old Yeller - Aged in bourbon barrels, and a lot of the whisky character really comes through. Notes of coconut and chocolate make it almost like drinking a Samoa cookie from the Girl Scouts.

2010 Anchor Old Foghorn - The perennial standout is superb with a couple of years on it - sweet and delicious with just enough hop character to provide some bitterness.

2008 Rogue Imperial Russian Stout - Pours like motor oil, although it somehow manages to not be super-rich on the palate. Body is beautifully creamy. The severe heat that was present when this beer was first released has diminished significantly, making it much more drinkable.

It took a lot of work, but we made it through all these kegs in two hours.

Gigantic Collaboration Beers at APEX


Gigantic Brewing has been getting quite a bit of press lately for a brewery that has yet to serve a pint of its own beer. Ben and Van have been making the rounds brewing up collaboration beers while waiting for their own brewery to reach completion. This Thursday, February 15, APEX will feature four of these new collaboration beers. From the press release:

Gigantic Brewing: Collabo Beer Night at Apex
When: Thursday Feb 16, 5-9pm
Where: Apex - 1216 SE Division St, PDX, OR 97202
The Gigantic lads, Ben Love and Van Havig, have not only been busy building the Gigantic Brewery & Tasting Room at SE 26th & Steele in Portland, but they've also brewed up a series of collabo (aka collaboration) beers with their brewer friends around Oregon. This is your chance to try all the collabo beers in one place and meet the brewers. Join Ben and Van - along with all the other collabo brewers (Ben Edmunds, Vasilli Gletsos, Daniel Pollard, and Matt Van Wyk) - for a night of drinking and celebration! The beers will be on tap at the Apex. Remember to bring your dollar dollar bills y'all (Apex is cash only).
Collabo Beers on Tap:
Breakside Brewing (feat. Gigantic Brewing)
Hoppy Hoppy Nano Beer (Imperial IPA)
Laurelwood Brewing (feat. Gigantic Brewing)
Cascadian Pilsner Beer (Hoppy Pilsner)
Oakshire Brewing (feat. Gigantic Brewing)
Collabo Wabo (Sammy Hagar Tribute NW Red Ale with Agave Nectar)
Pelican Pub & Brewery (feat. Gigantic Brewing)
Schwarzenfreude (Baltic Porter)