Pints Brewing's Zach Beckwith leaving for Three Creeks Brewing

Pints Brewing has only been making beer since late February when former New Old Lompoc Brewer Zach Beckwith took the reigns as their first brewer. He immediately positioned himself and Pints Brewing as making a specific kind of beer, classic English-style pub ales in my first writeup about the brewery in an interview. Some would say his approach and thoughts on the future of craft beer made Pints out to be the anti-Breakside Brewery. So it is pretty surprising to suddenly hear from Zach himself that he is leaving Pints Brewing (who just celebrated their grand opening in April)...
"today marks my last day at PINTS Brewing Co. I will be leaving to take over as Head Brewer at Three Creeks Brewing in Sisters, OR starting next week. I'm very proud of the work I've done at PINTS but couldn't pass up an opportunity for me and my family to realize our dream of living in beautiful Central Oregon and the chance to guide an established brewery into the future."

Three Creeks Brewing located in Sisters, OR themselves are in the midst of change as they anticipate the next stage of their business, having opened in 2008 they are now maxed out capacity and looking for options for expansion.

This sudden change does make you wonder how Pints Brewing ownership feels having just got off the ground and still being pretty unknown in the brewing community. Again having been positioned to make classic lower alcohol pub beers by Zach will the approach stay the same or will the sudden change derail the brewery and perhaps will the focus change? Zach says "PINTS will continue to grow and produce the same old school ales as always and with the addition of the restaurant is poised to become a staple in Portland's craft beer community for years to come." If so there is no word about a new Pints brewer yet so you wonder how they would feel about keeping up with the same "old school ales" approach and I do not believe the Pints kitchen has even opened yet. This all makes for a rocky start in the first 6 months of Pints Brewing and perhaps sets a new record for brewer Zach Beckwith who will have separately at different times worked for 3 different breweries in those 6 months. In the meantime we can all enjoy his last beers at Pints Brewing.

Out Now - Green Line Organic Summer IPA
all organic malt paired with Amarillo and Cascade hops for a powerful hop punch but only 5.5% ABV. Green Line will be available all summer at our taproom and select beer bars around Portland.

Friday July 6 - Seismic Upgrade Imperial IPA release party
Monster imperial IPA measuring 8.8 on the ABV richter scale and over 100 IBUs. Brewed with the same malt bill as our Seismic IPA to imperial strength and utilizing 6 different hop varieties, Seismic Upgrade features a complex hop assault of pine and tropical fruit flavors.

Friday July 13th - Grand Opening of Pints Brewhouse view restaurant!

Fort George Brewery Throws Down

With news of its fourth canned beer hitting the shelves, Fort George Brewing is staying incredibly busy with its just-announced 'Liberate the Ales 4th of July' party. Quick Wit has been a longtime favorite at Fort George, and it's nice to see another packaged witbier, since they are few and far between. Like usual, the can stands out with an strange but very pleasant color combination that makes an eye-catching package. Unlike most Belgian-style witbiers, this one is spiced with not only the usual coriander, but also additions of lemongrass and elderflower for an extra citrusy and floral punch.

2012 Portland Beer Week in Photos

left to right: Eric Salazar, Alex Ganum, Ben Edmunds, myself, Jason Mcadam, Jesse McCann
Portland Beer Week year 2 was a lot of fun and brought together brewers and beer lovers near and far. Especially fun was hanging with guys like New Belgium's Eric Salazar, Almanac Brewing's Jesse Friedman, Stone Brewing's Mitch Steele, and Elysian's David Beuhler, to name a few who flew in for the festivities. Also of note was the success of events like the seminar series, with all 5 of them selling out or coming close.

Burnside Brewing's Lime Kolsch and a Beer & BBQ party

Today and Saturday Burnside Brewing Co. has an exciting new experimental beer release and a great sounding event. Also coming up is the long awaited release of Kali-Ma aka International Incident finally in 1ltr bottles.

The Beer Bunker now Open in Montavilla

Finally opened on southeast Stark street in Portland, OR is the Beer Bunker a taproom and bottleshop that The New School reported on way back in August of 2011.  The Beer Bunker joins the up and coming Montavilla neighborhood already home to Roscoe's and some great bars/restaurants like The Country Cat, The Observatory and Tanuki. More tap room than bottleshop as originally thought it takes the place of what was previously a bike workshop and retains much of the garage like vibe.

Portland International Beerfest aka PIB Returns July 20-22nd

The Portland International Beerfest returns to the North Park Blocks in the Pearl District for its 11th year on July 20-22nd. The event is described as a "slightly extreme festival specializing in hard-to-find, rare, & exotic styles of beer from breweries near & far." Last year there were some amazing rare beers to be found, including a vintage bourbon barrel-aged Stone Russian Imperial Stout (the full beer list is on the website right now). More info from the festival:

There’s rib-stickin’ eats from KOi Fusion, Potato Champion, East Burn, and others, along with a plenty of free games such as darts, chess, and backgammon. 21 & over only, pet-friendly. Come find out why our motto is: “Taste the greatest beers you’ve never heard of!”

PIB has the most eclectic beer list of any festival in the Pacific Northwest that range from smoked beers from Iceland, Trappist ales and sour Lambics from Belgium, Cognac barrel-aged beers from Denmark, Scotch barrel-aged beers from the Netherlands, Lagers and Hefe's from Germany and even locally made cascading classics like Imperial IPA's. 

160 beer samples is a lot of work. Tired of tasting you way around the world & just want to sit
down with full pint? Swing by the Grande Beer Garden. FULL PINTS of premium beer are just $3!

***BUY HERE***

What you get:
- 30 beer tickets (our best deal)
- Early entry w/ "behind the scenes" beer drinking
- No waiting in line to get in.
- VERY limited availability
- Details on our FAQ page


- Faster entry line for advance purchasers

- Entry includes official PIB glass & 10 beer tickets
- More tickets available for $1 each
- Beers are 4oz. servings
- Beers cost 1 to 7 tickets, depending on how much it costs us.
- Prices are NOT based on rarity.
- There are dozens of 1 ticket beers. Usually over 50.

Location: Pearl District North Park Blocks (NW Davis & NW 8th)
Hours: Fri: 4-10p, Sat 12-10p, Sun 12-7p
Admission: $30 gate/$25 advance - Includes 10 beer tickets & glass. Extra tickets $1 each
FREE RE-ENTRY ALL 3 DAYS (must have official glass & wristband)
Deals: Discounts available online advance purchase. VIP packages are THE best deal.

Recap: Portland Beer and Cheese Fest

Steve Jones and crew slices hundreds of pieces of cheese in advance of the fest

The first of what will likely be many Portland Beer and Cheese Fests took place this past Sunday at The Commons Brewery and proved to be a hit with the diverse crowd that ranged from the usual beer geek suspects to those interested in discovering new and interesting pairings. I hate to admit it, but I may love cheese as much as I love coffee and beer. Sadly, coffee does not go as well with cheese as beer does, and thus the Portland Beer and Cheese Fest pairing was a natural.

99 Bottles of Beer in Your Pocket

Dave Selden's popular 33 Bottles of Beer books have taken bottleshops by storm since their release in November of 2009. Based in Portland, OR, the pocket-sized tasting journals are part of the 33 series, which now includes journals for wine, cheese, coffee, whiskey and cigar. The jornals have collectively sold over 100,000 copies. Just recently, though, the Masters Version of the series has been released--99 Bottles of Beer. There are three books of 33 pages each for your reviews, packaged in a classy hard stock case that allows the uber beer geek to have easy, stylish access to their recent beer reviews.

Recap: Beer and Food Pairing Seminar at Wildwood

One of my personal highlights of Portland Beer Week - the Beer and Food Pairing Seminar at Wildwood Restaurant. I am embarrassed to admit this was my first time at Wildwood, a restaurant that should be firmly cemented as the top spot in town for beer dinners. Moderated by Breakside Brewery's Ben Edmunds and conceived by Ben, myself and Wildwood chef Paul Kasten the seminar serves as both an educational seminar on how some of the finest chef's and brewers approach pairing but also as a dinner itself. 8 courses were presented by 4 brewers and 4 chefs.

Nathaniel Price (Grain and Gristle) with Alex Ganum (Upright Brewing), Paul Kasten of Wildwood with Nick Arzner (Block 15 Brewing), John Gorham the Toro Bravo, Tasty n' Sons Chef with Ben Edmunds and Aaron Barnett, chef of St. Jack with Charlie Devereux (Double Mountain Brewery.)

Menu and Participants:

Nathaniel Price (Grain & Gristle) and Alex Ganum (Upright)
early summer vegetable croquette, chevre, salsa verde
with special blend of gose and biere de garde

fennel, strawberry, sunflower seed, pepita, lime
with flora rustica

Paul Kasten (Wildwood) and Nick Arzner (Block 15)
puree of artichoke soup, chicharron, piment d'espelette
with ferme de la’ville provision

pork rillettes, crostone, pickled calabrian chile, microgreens
with ridgeback red

John Gorham (Toro Bravo) and Ben Edmunds (Breakside)
house made slim jim with 12 month manchego
with aztec ale

homeade reuben
with kellerbier

Aaron Barnett (St. Jack) and Charlie Devereux (Double Mountain)
country pork boudin with poached prune, pommes puree & caramelized onion-bacon jus
with peche mode

dessert course TBD

New Belgium Brewing Opens Its Own Ranger Station Bar and Eatery

New Belgium Brewing is branching out, and I don't mean the company's North Carolina expansion project. The first NB-branded pubs are set to open soon in Snowmass, Colorado.

New Belgium is partnering in the renovation of the Wildwood Snowmass hotel and opening the first "New Belgium Ranger Station", a new slopeside bar and eatery. 
Located just steps from the mountain on the Snowmass Mall, the New Belgium Ranger Station will offer Colorado craft beers and seasonal varietals in a casual, apr├Ęs ski environment. The renovated Wildwood Snowmass hotel will also have a New Belgium-­themed establishment, with 10 of the Fort Collins brewer’s beers on tap. More from the presser below:

Video Recap: Block 15 Brewing's Belmont Station 15th Anniversary Beer

Yesterday brought another packed Portland Beer Week event. Belmont Station celebrated their 15th anniversary with the release of a special beer from Block 15 Brewing who's owner/brewer Nick Arzner presented BS owner Carl Singmaster with a surprise gift.

By the way bottles of the special beer are still available for $14.99 with a 2 bottle limit. It's a dark boozy and malty brew with caramel and spicy bourbon characters and a tart finish thanks to the small portion of Oude Bruin with wild yeast blended in.

Block 15 Brewing Releases Belmont Station's 15th Anniversary Beer

One of the big events of Portland Beer Week and for Belmont Station is the release of the Station's official 15th anniversary beer, fittingly brewed by Block 15 Brewing and released on Friday, June 15th.

Block 15 Brewing in Corvallis, OR, is likely known by most New School readers already for its impressive barrel-aging program. The brewery's cellars and barrel collection are second to none in Oregon, so when Block 15 rolls out a new barrel-aged beer, everyone knows to take notice. For Belmont Station the Block 15 crew brewed a Strong Scottish Ale matured in 15 year Pappy Van Winkle Barrels blended with 11% 2yr bourbon barrel-aged Oud Bruin and 11% 9 month bourbon barrel-aged Oud Bruin. Belmont Station will be pouring this beer and a couple others from Block 15 on draft in the Biercafe and, of course,  selling bottles of the 15 with owner/brewer Nick Arzner here in person this Friday. Official hours for the event are 5-8pm.

Belmont Station
4500 SE Stark
Portland, OR 97215

You can also find Block 15 pouring Figgy Pudding on this Father's Day June 17th for the Portland Beer and Cheese Fest.

Barrel-Aged Beer Seminar Is Tonight

Like last year's Barrel-Aged Beer Seminar for Portland Beer Week, this year's (taking place today, Wednesday, June 13th) brings together 4 brewers for an educational yet fun tasting and Q&A where participants will likely taste beers they will never be able to find again. This year's panel of brewers features Mitch Steele - Brewmaster at Stone Brewing Co.; Matt Van Wyk - Brewmaster at Oakshire Brewing;  and Doug Rehberg - Widmer Brothers Brewing, and is MC'd by Ben Edmunds of Breakside Brewery. There will be a total of 11 beers poured and even more knowledge shared. It all takes place this evening at 6pm in the Widmer offices across the street from the Gasthaus. At last count, there were only 10 seats or so remaining, and sales were to be cut off around 1pm today. Tickets are available in advance only.

The Portland Beer and Cheese Fest

This coming Sunday (Father's Day), new inner-SE Portland brewery The Commons will host the first-ever Portland Beer and Cheese Fest, co-organized by Steve Jones, Master Cheesemonger of Cheese Bar and curator of the cheese selections in many of our city's best restaurants. Unlike most fests, this one is small and will only accept presale tickets; none will be sold at the door. Purchasing an advance ticket gets you a punch card good for 10 preselected beer and cheese pairings and a nice snifter glass, for only $25.

Portland Beer and Cheese Fest co-organizer Steve Jones, current reigning world champion Cheesemonger, says, "Beer is a grain-based beverage; dairy animals have a grain based diet. The terroir is undeniable. Hands down, beer is a better pairing medium then wine."

Utilizing the building's common area with its large roll-up doors and the small refined brewery space, The Commons provides just the right amount of space for a small, intimate crowd. "We at The Commons Brewery enjoy quality time with friends, and believe that interaction is enhanced with beer and food. With that idea in mind, we are excited to bring Steve Jones, of Cheese Bar, and 10 great breweries together for a beer and cheese pairing," commented owner Mike Wright about the upcoming event. With the 10 selected breweries, the fest will showcase a wide variety of beers from lighter, sessionable brews to stronger, maltier offerings while staying away from overly hoppy beers for the most part. Participating breweries include:

The Commons Brewery
Upright Brewing
Gigantic Brewing
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Widmer Brothers Brewing
Solera Brewery
Block 15 Brewing
Oakshire Brewing
Firestone Walker Brewing
Double Mountain Brewing

For the low entry fee of $25 attendees are treated to one 3oz sample of each of the 10 beers paired with 1oz of their preselected cheese pairing. Additional tickets for pairings are available for those still hungry for more. If cheese and beer are not enough to fill you up, Chop Butchery & Charcuterie will be on site providing FREE snacks. ALL tickets sold in advance at

Portland Beer and Cheese Fest
Sunday June 17th 1-6pm $25 advance
The Commons Brewery
1810 SE 10th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
Brewery entrance is on SE Stephens between 10th and 11th

Shout Out to Point Blank Distributing

In yesterday's story about the oversaturation of the market and Hopworks' decision to switch distributors from Point Blank to Columbia, I may have inadvertently insulted Point Blank Distribution. It was not my intent to make any slight against them, and I apologize if I offended anyone there. I have the utmost respect for Point Blank and they should receive a ton of credit for making brands like Hopworks, Ninkasi, and Oakshire, among many others, what they are today. It is really too bad to see breweries jumping ship from the smaller local Point Blank, which is uber respected in this industry. Almost every brewery and bar owner I know prefers Point Blank over any other distributor. Hopefully as they keep helping launch so many awesome brands, they will continue to grow and have more success. Again, I apologize if I insulted anyone there, I was only intending to analyze what's going on in the industry, not judge it (in the last post, at least.)

Mo' Money, Mo Problems: Hopworks Jumps Distributors With the Challenges of a Growing Industry

Photo by John Foyston/The Oregonian
The craft beer segment of the market is growing at an enormous rate, and talk of over-saturation is everywhere. Most craft brewers will tell you that they are not competing with each other, though; instead, they are fighting for a piece of the big boys' pie, the macro beers like Bud, Miller, and Coors. However, to be realistic about things, there are more craft brewers emerging than shelf space at your local grocery store.  Let's combine that with the trend towards canned craft beer, which shows no signs of slowing down (nor should it), and you are going to be seeing major shakeups in the grocery stores and bottleshops. Maybe this is why Hopworks Urban Brewery has left its original distributor, Point Blank, to sign with local juggernaut Columbia Distributing, as confirmed recently by sources.

Stone Brewing Co. Brewmaster Mitch Steele in PDX

Stone Brewing Co. Brewmaster Mitch Steele is coming to Portland for several stellar events to celebrate Portland Beer Week. One of the most respected American brewers, I have nothing but good things to say about Mitch Steele. I cannot wait to meet him at some of these incredible events. I will most def be at the Barrel-Aged Beer Seminar and likely the Brewers Social Hour. If your one of many who didnt get into the sold-out Sour Blending Symposium the Brewers Dinner on Tuesday looks phenomenal.

10 Barrel Brewing Comes out Swinging at APEX

Thank god for Portland Beer Week or I would be too busy to have anything to post. We also might not have so many killer events coming up, such as this amazing "10 Barrel Brewing Co. Comes out Swinging at Apex" event on Saturday. However badass it will be, though, I still can't attend, as I will likely be unable to leave the equally killer Portland Fruit Beer Festival. But, if you are not inclined towards fruit beers, just take a look at this insane beer list below and keep in mind the All-Star Brewers lineup  (Jimmy Seifrit, Tonya Cornett, Shawn Kelso, Bobby Jackson, and Ben Shirley) will all be at Apex this Saturday, chilling from 4-8pm.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Beer & More Crazy Rare Taps at the 2nd Annual Portland Fruit Beer Fest

Over on the Portland Fruit Beer Festival website, the blog has been featuring some cool behind-the-scenes videos on the making of some of the one-off and unique beers that will be available during the fest this weekend. The latest video may be the best. It features occasional New School contributor Ben Edmunds, Brewmaster at Breakside Brewery. Here Ben demonstrates how to make a Strawberry Rhubarb beer by adding whole pies, crust and all, just like his mom taught him as a boy.

Also, the rare rotator taplist for the fruit beer fest was announced today. More than 25 special single kegs will be poured--some of them made just for the fest, and others that are very hard to find beer geek favorites. I have a feeling people will freak out about the Logsdon Farmhouse Ales' 'Fruit Melange' Barrrel-aged Bretta and Boneyard Brewing's Funky Bunch. Personally, I am really looking forward to trying Los Muertos and Wit of Zeus, both from Deschutes; the Upright/Bushwhacker beer/cider blend; and Oakshire Brewing's Framboise. This year there will be 4 taps pouring rare beers at any given time (assuming they don't run out, of course). Get in early by purchasing advanced or VIP tickets.

The full rare beer taplist is below, as are the other 3 videos that have been made about Portland Fruit Beer Festival beers.