Supporting Our Own: Laurelwood Holds Fundraiser for Ninkasi's Morgan Miller

Friend of The New School and of many in the industry, Morgan Miller of Ninkasi Brewing recently was told he needed immediate open heart surgery. On Wednesday, October 24th, he checked in for Mitral Valve replacement surgery and is now spending 6 weeks recovering at home, which means he will miss nearly 2 months of work with kids in college depending on his financial support.

To help with our fellow brothers and sisters in the industry, the craft beer community always comes together.

Laurelwood Public House & Brewery is holding a fundraiser November 13, 2012, to raise money benefiting Morgan Miller. Laurelwood will donate 20% of all sales that day from their NE Portland, SE Portland, and Battle Ground, WA locations to Miller in hopes it gets him through the hardship this surgery has put on him and his family. “Family means a lot to us here at Laurelwood. When you see a part of your family in need, you help out where you can. Morgan is a part of the Oregon beer family, and we are here for him,” said Laurelwood owner Mike De Kalb.

Participating Locations:

NE Portland, 5115 NE Sandy Blvd.
SE Portland, 6716 SE Milwaukie Blvd.
Battle Ground, WA, 1401 SE Rasmussen Blvd.

More info on Community Support for Morgan Miller and how you can help here.

Craft Beer Branding in the 21st Century

I have noticed a new stylistic trend in the branding of craft beer specialty products. The minimalist 3-color approach to design that relies heavily on negative space and expressive text and shapes is becoming popular--perhaps too popular. I have long complained that too many breweries simply give the job of designing their logo and labels to a friend who may be a talented artist but does not know anything about branding, TTB approval, and marketing. As craft beer becomes a bigger business we are seeing more professionally-designed products and higher-end graphic design firms working their magic on brewery artwork. The problem may be originality.

Lessons Learned from the Great American Beer Festival

Denver, aka the Mile High City, is arguably the best beer city in the country. Home of the Great American Brewers Festival, the Brewers Association, and more breweries and pubs than you can shake a stick at, it's unarguably in the Top 5 US beer cities. I made my first visit recently for the aforementioned GABF, and in my 5 day trip I visited 6 breweries in Denver and as many taphouses, plus another 3 breweries in Fort Collins, about an hour out of the city. I also attended media events and behind-the-scenes parties put on by the Brewers Association and others, and I learned two things: Denver is an inferior beer city to Portland and that the future of American Craft Beer lies in the progress of craft beer-loving foodies and homebrewers.

Eugene VIP Tour on the Brewvana Bus with Oakshire's Matt Van Wyk

The latest in the ongoing VIP tour experiences curated by The New School on the Brewvana Brewery Tours bus is coming up this Saturday, 11/3. This trip will head down to Eugene on a tour co-hosted by Oakshire Brewing's Brewmaster Matt Van Wyk. Highlights will include a sneak peak at the new location of Oakshire Brewing in the Whiteaker neighborhood and dinner at the brand new Falling Sky Brewing's new pub with owner/brewer Jason Carriere. Of course, New Schoolers get a discount to this tour with our promo code "NewSchool" when you register.

APEX Embraces the Darkness Again

Returning for its 2nd year, Embrace the Darkness at APEX celebrates the turning of the seasons and the dark days ahead with a crazy lineup of dark and bold beers. Kicking off this Saturday November 3rd at 11:30am, owner Jesse McCann has put together a taplist with an average abv of just over 10.3 %.

 APEX will be expanding the smoking area outside just for this weekend so you can enjoy these big beers with one of the fine selection of cigars they have for sale. The taplist is still not completed, but the bar has been tweeting from @ApexBar many of the beers that will be featured. There are 51 beers this year and only 48 taps available, so you'll have to empty a few kegs to make room for everything!
1216 SE Division St.
Portland, Oregon 97202
United States
(503) APEX-BAR

New Belgium Brewing Adds a Sweet Pilot Brewhouse

New Belgium's new pilot brewhouse

 I recently visited New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado, one of the top breweries to tour in the US and most impressive craft brewing operations I have seen. One of the highlights was the recently unveiled 10-hectoliter pilot brewery. Sitting in a hall adjacent to their impressive lineup of foeders and climbing rock wall(!) the new brewery is a shiny nicely tricked out brewery that a successful brewpub would be happy to have. The new system is comprised of a two-vessel brewhouse with one mash/lauter vessel and one brew kettle/whirlpool. Four fermenters and two bright beer tanks for conditioning complete the facility, which will primarily be used for research and new product development.

Hoppy Birthday Circa 33

One of my favorite bars in town is the highly underrated Circa 33 on SE 33rd and Belmont in Portland, OR. Not only does the bar have an outstanding rotating taplist but an incredible liquor selection, great food, warm stylish decor but also a really cool outdoor candle lit dark alleyway with seating that is covered and heated when it needs to be.

This Saturday is the typically unhyped 2nd annual Hoppy Birthday Party from 5-11pm with food and beer specials, prizes and one of your last chances to try many fresh hop beer at once with 12 on tap, plus free swag from participating brewers. Do It.

Circa 33 bar / 3348 SE Belmont, Portland, OR 97214 / (503) 477-7682

Laurelwood's Mini Brewpub Empire Expanding

A new Laurelwood Brewing location is now open in Southeast Portland in the heart of the popular family neighborhood of Sellwood. The new brewpub is not big on square footage, but big roll-up doors, high ceilings, and a bright and warm interior give it a welcoming feel that invites crowds. At last week's grand opening, all the players, including owner Mike DeKalb, Brewmaster Vasilios Gletsos, marketing manager James Buxman, and returning prodigal sun Micah Bell were in attendance for the ribbon cutting. Meanwhile, new stuff is brewing and on tap, and the brewery just added some bronze and silver medals at the recent Great American Beer Festival.

The Commons Brewery's Wild Night Celebrates Expanded Hours

This little brewery doing big things. The Commons Brewery, fresh off winning two medals at GABF, is expanding its operations to Thursdays starting this week.

Owner Mike Wright and Josh Grgas of The Commons
Now open from 5-9PM on Thursdays, the brewery celebrates the new hours tomorrow night by filling the taps with various sour and wild beer projects. All beers will be available in full glasses and sample sizes.

Night of the Living Ales - A Halloween Extravaganza

The 3rd annual Night of the Living Ales is coming up this Friday, October 26th. More than just a Halloween party for craft beer lovers, it features the album release show for local favorite musician Boy Eats Drum Machine as well as guest bands Oh, Darling and Purse Candy. In addition to a full bar inside Burnside Brewery, the outdoor tented venue on E. Burnside and 7th will feature inspired draft beers that you won't find anywhere else.To top that off there will be Binders full of Women, the Sinferno Go-Go Dancers who will be all dressed up for Halloween and shimmying on and around the stage to the nights music.

Saraveza's 4th Anniversary and Bad Habit Room Open House

This Saturday celebrate North Portland's great beer bar Saraveza's 4th Anniversary at a 10pm toast. 

From 5-10pm they will also be celebrating the opening of the newly remodeled Bad Habit Room Private and Public Event Space. There will be snacks, a vertical of Consecration and 2010 Hair of the Dog "Fred" on draft.  Join us and relax in our latest pride and joy that is fully equip with a mahogany bar, an old fashioned ice box, lavish decor and the heart of a Jezebel.  Bad Habit Room is perfect for any beer lover looking to rent "a private bar" for the evening.

10PM - Saraveza's 4th Annual Industry Consecration Toast: It is Saraveza's 4th anniversary and in honor of the industry that keeps them afloat we will be hosting our 4th Annual Consecration Toast.  The toast this year will be by beloved beertender and very first employee, Tyler “The Elder” Vickers and will be followed by a Sugar Pimp Chocolate Cake made with Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout & chocolate ganache! FREE.

Autumn Ale Festival

Pictured: Trevor Thurston in front of Plew's Brews
Plew’s Brews, in conjunction with Laurelwood Brewing and Thurston Beervents, presents the Autumn Ale Festival October 19th through 21st. Three days of harvest beers--from stouts to fresh hops, there is something for everyone! Some of the highlights include Bayreuther Landbier Dunkel, Hale‘s Ales Harvest, Ninkasi’s Meridian Fresh-Hopped “ Tastes Like Purple,” and Laurelwood‘s Brewer‘s Cut Imperial IPA!
Commemorative glasses are $5 and tickets are $1 for a four-ounce taste.Some of the more rare and unusual beers will cost two tickets.

Plew’s Brews is located at 8409 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97203

Beers Made By Walking: 5 Questions with Eric Steen

Eric Steen (left, at Belmont Station) and his Beers Made By Walking project

This Saturday Beers Made By Walking comes to Belmont Station, the 5th in a series of unique events that ask brewers to make beers inspired by plants found on nature hikes. BMBW's founder, Eric Steen, is an artist and teacher who first put together one of my favorite events of recent years, bringing beer to the Portland Art Museum as part of the Shine A Light event. Now relocated to Colorado Springs, he has started a successful new blog called Focus on The Beer and has become an event coordinator of note with the Beers Made By Walking project and more. On Saturday October 20th, he returns to PDX with 5 different beers from Oregon breweries Coaliton, Deschutes, Flat Tail, Standing Stone, and Upright inspired by each  brewer's own nature hikes. Below is an interview with one of the more creative voices in craft beer, Eric Steen.

Future Past: A Look at Portland's New Breweries of 2010-2012

jess rotenberg photography
Ben Edmunds takes the kids to school
2010 marked an unprecedented boom of new breweries and pubs to open in Portland (Burnside Brewing, Coalition, Migration, and Breakside, among others) and inspiring many questions about Portland reaching a craft beer saturation point. Not coincidentally, I launched The New School on January 1st, 2010, with one of my chief sources of inspiration being the boom in new breweries. One of my first outside writers, columnist Ben Edmunds would later become the Brewmaster at the new Breakside Brewery. In his very first story on this site on March 29th, 2010, Ben wrote about the Portland Beer Apocalypse and said "I fear for the Portland brewpubs," offering a skeptical view on the success of new brewpubs just as he was himself working on opening one. "The numbers don’t lie: one brewery’s gain means another one’s loss." It's fun to re-read his post and remember a time just a few short years ago when the previously-mentioned breweries were just on the horizon, along with Green Dragon's Buckman Village Brewery, Hair of the Dog's Tasting Room, Cascade's Barrel House, Mt. Tabor Brewing, and Occidental Brewing on the upcoming list. Note in the comments Brian from the newly-opened Short Snout Brewing hints at opening his brewery and concurs with Ben's assessments.

Ben estimated in a few years we would see some shakeout from oversaturation, and in this post I will discuss his past predictions as well as make my own predictions for the 2012 crop of new brewers.

Hop Squash Total Tap Takeover at the Beer Bunker

You may have already heard of the Beer Bunker here. The new taphouse/bottleshop in the Montavilla neighborhood is hosting its first big event this Thursday with Elysian and Ninkasi Brewing. A collaboration beer called Hop Squash between the Seattle and Eugene breweries may be the first IPA made with pumpkins that I have heard of.

17th Annual Holiday Ale Festival Announced

The Holiday Ale Festival is back for its 17th year at Pioneer Courthouse Square this November 28th through December 2nd at 701 SW Sixth Ave in downtown Portland. No word yet, though, on who the official cartoon pinup spokesmodel will be. More info below.

Behind the Pint Part 2: Interview with Tony Larence and John Harris

Tony Lawrence the Co-Founder and Brewmaster at Boneyard Brewing in Bend, OR is one of the hottest brewers in the country right now, John Harris is a legendary Brewmaster who also got his start in Bend and is currently working on opening his own Brewpub. These two big men in the craft brewing world have a lot in common and in Part 2 of our video interview they talk about the beer business, what the future holds for craft beer and each of their breweries and share some stories from how they first met. View Part 1 here.

No Sleep till Denver!

Well I am off to Denver, CO for the Great American Beer Festival this week and won't be back until Sunday so I apologize for a scarcity of posts this week. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that this is my first visit to the GABF so I plan to make the most of it. Video/Photography guy "SNOB" Ritch is joining me as is editor El Gordo so you can expect some great coverage next week and we plan to be shooting some video and interviews. I am especially excited to be meeting up with the brewers at New Belgium for some serious drinking and sampling from the foeders. In the meantime I leave you with this poster for the 3rd annual Night of the Living Ales.

Catch you all on the lager-side.

Bridgeport Brewing's "Enchanted" New Beer

For fans of barrel-aged and/or fruit beers, Bridgeport's newest may be worth seeking out. Enchanted is a new, very limited barrel-aged version of Stumptown Tart from 2010. Aged for 2 years in oak barrels, Bridgeport calls it a Framboise. I wouldn't go that far, as the base beer is no Lambic, but I can see 2 years on wood treating this beer well.

Note the new packaging design for Enchanted, reminiscent of the screen printed designs on the new Hopworks Abbey line of bottles for its stylistic but sparse imagery. I wonder if this will be the first of a new reserve series from Bridgeport? Bottles will be available only in Oregon.

“This is a special one for our team,” commented Brewmaster Jeff Edgerton. “The 2010 Stumptown Tart was a favorite not only amongst our loyal BridgePort fans – but also amongst our brewers. The only way to up the ante on that beer was to let it age in oak barrels for two years. The result is something surprising and pretty unforgettable.”

Brews for New Avenues - Rare Beers for a Good Cause

I am in Denver this week, so I am sad to miss this great craft beer event, Brews for New Avenues supporting a good cause.

Saturday, October 13, 2012, 5-10 pm local nonprofit New Avenues for Youth and the Rogue Nation Foundation have teamed up to bring Portland its first live, rare beer auction. The event will feature hard-to-find craft beers on draft, as well as bottles for auction, in addition to chocolate stout beer floats, some of the most popular food carts in town, live bluegrass, and free Ben & Jerry’s root beer floats for designated drivers.

Check out the slideshow above of the rare bottles collected from generous donations that will be auctioned off for the charity.
Proceeds from this outdoor event benefit New Avenues for Youth’s programs that provide education, job training, and additional services that empower homeless youth to exit street life.

Double Mountain Finally Releases Bottles to the Portland Market

They should call it the Double Mountain Bottle Release Roadshow. After more than five years in the works, Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom of Hood River, Oregon, is shipping its first truckloads of bottles to the Portland market and celebrating at beer bars and bottleshops all over town. The brewery’s core brands--Kölsch, Vaporizer, India Red Ale (IRA), and Hop Lava--will be on shelves and available for purchase on October 15 at fine bottleshops in the metro area.

Behind the Pint with Tony Lawrence and John Harris part 1

Tony Lawrence, co-founder and brewer at Boneyard Brewing in Bend, OR and the currently inbetween gigs brewing legend John Harris got together last week for a collaboration beer release tour for Aleias. Stopping on the Brewvana bus we interviewed the two who once brewed together when John recruited Tony from the Deschutes Brewpub kitchen.
Part 1 of the interview focuses on the beer that they created Aleias, part 2 later down the line will cover the beer business and brewing news.

Behind The Pint: Garrett Oliver - The Lost Interview

I finally managed to corner Brooklyn Brewery's infamous Brewmaster, Garrett Oliver, for an interview. Mr. Oliver is known for his brewing creativity, as well as his writing prowess in such well-known books as The Brewmasters Table and the New Oxford Companion to Beer and, of course, his reputation as the best=-dressed brewer in the known universe. While watching The Daily Show recently I realized that Garrett is like the Neil deGrasse Tyson of the craft beer world, and if these two ever got together my brain would explode. (Collaboration beer!!!)

This interview was one I had been hoping to get for a while and was filmed back in May at the Craft Brewers Conference, yet somehow fell through the cracks of "SNOB" Ritch's hard drive and has finally been recovered. Please forgive the shaky cam as we filmed the interview on the spot in the lobby of the convention center with no warning and no tripod.

Brewers Dinner at the New Tabor Tavern Gastropub with Bryan Kielty

For those who feel brewers dinners have gotten overly expensive, this one with Lompoc's Bryan Kielty at the Tabor Tavern is a sure thing. Tabor Tavern, a new American gastropub I reviewed not long ago, features an exclusive beer from Lompoc made just for it already. Bryan is also an investor in the project, so this is a natural fit, and for only $45, a no-brainer. Also, being in my neighborhood ,I have made a good number of visits now to the Tabor and count myself among its fans.

Inaugurating the President of Beers

Willamette Week, a local Portland-based paper, today crowns its "President of Beers" in an undeniably unscientific (but fun) competition between beers from all 50 states. If you haven't caught the online coverage, I summed up the last year of WW beer coverage and the election here. Last night, various critics, WW staffers, and local beer pros--myself included, as a I was a judge of the contest--gathered at Willamette Week's offices to meet the winners elected as the new Presidents of Beer.

Descutes Chasin' Freshies Fresh Hop IPA Out in Bottles and On Draft

Looks like I will soon have another beer to add to our Fresh Hop Beer Guide when Deschutes releases "Chasin' Freshies" in bottles and on draft. It is one of the only bottled fresh hop beers I have seen this year. It's also interesting because Deschutes' regular annual fresh hop bottled beer, "Hop Trip," has been MIA (though apparently still coming) and "Fresh Hop Mirror Pond," which was bottled last year, has also disappeared.

I am actually really excited to try the Chasin' Freshies, the beer that replaces the beloved Fresh Hop Mirror Pond. More info and a description from Deschutes below:

UPDATED: 2012 Fresh Hop Beer Guide

UPDATED Wednesday 10/3
Added two new Fort George Brewing beers, Hopstoria and Fresh Hop OPA
UPDATED Tuesday 10/2:
The Fresh Hop beer list continues to grow with a bunch of new beers hitting the market and including two firsts as far as I know - a Fresh Hop Cider and a Gluten-Free Fresh Hop beer.

On Thursday one of our newest, Humble Brewing releases 2 fresh hop beers at Bridgetown Beerhouse at 6pm.

Short Snout Brewing, another new nano brewer is releasing their first fresh hop beer.
Pints Brewing in Old Town Portland has 2 fresh hop beers, another first for the new brewery including a Double IPA and the rare Fresh Hopped Saison.
Reverend Nat's Hard Cider, Portland's 2nd cidery is producing a fresh hopped version of their Hopricot, it's around town on draft and bottle now in limited quantities.

Our only Gluten-Free brewery - Harvester is releasing their Fresh Hop version of their IPA on Friday at the brewery for dock sales and tasting and shortly after at key Portland accounts. Not only is this probably the first fresh hopped gluten-free beer it's also one of the very few bottled fresh hop beers this year.

Fresh Hop beer has officially hit the big time, with everyone and their mother making the style, which even recently received official recognition from the Brewers Association. Though so-called "wet" hopped beers have been around for at least 20 years, it feels like they are really just now is exploding. While it seems everyone in Oregon is making one, the beers are still elusive and can be hard to track down. This leaves many of us scouring the twitterverse for updates on the latest green and grassy brew. Luckily our friend and new contributor, "Ze Fresh Hop Führer"is nothing if not a man of the people. He has compiled the largest database of fresh hop beers ever, all available in the state of Oregon.

The list will be occasionally updated and if you wish to share a new fresh hop beer or where you have found one on tap, please post it in the comments.

Henry Weinhard's Goes National: Is Miller-Coors Co-opting the Portland brewers legacy?

As if to underline my scoop on MillerCoors taking the Henry Weinhard's brand nationally and out of Full Sail's hands, today the company announced that this month it is taking three beers nationally: Private Reserve, Redwood Flats Amber Ale, and Woodland Pass IPA. 

VIDEO: The Birth of A Barrel

Here is a really sweet little video on the making of a whisky barrel. Though more an advertisement for the distillery when some barrels get handed down to the brewers, it's good to know the work that goes into making them.