Reading Material: For the Love of Hops

For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops is the new book from Stan "The Man" Hieronymus, whom I recently had the pleasure to meet. When speaking to Stan, one of our great craft beer authors, his apparent knowledge of hops is unmistakably vast and explained with much enthusiasm. I could not be more excited for his new book that expertly explains the nature of hops, their origins, and how brewers maximize their positive attributes throughout the brewing process. Personally, I am very interested to learn Stan's insight into brand new exciting hop varieties and the secret histories of those popular species now.

Full Sail to Release Cascadian Dark Ale: Lord of Darkness

Though Full Sail once already dipped its toes into the dark Cascadian waters (with Bump in the Night), the brewery is doing it again for the next beer in the Brewer’s Share Experimental lineup. Lord of Darkness,” brewed by Brewer Gavin Lord, celebrates that in darkness you can find light. 

Craft Beer™

The controversy over ongoing trademark disputes in the craft beer industry is widening. Oftentimes I hear people talk about how the beer industry is a tight-knit community, always willing to share and help each other. That is true, but I wonder if some of that is because the industry is still so small. As more craft breweries open, the business side of the community becomes more important and issues and legal disputes over branding and trademarking will--and have already--become more common. Longtime members of this great community seem split on how to handle it, as evidenced in recent comments regarding trademark disputes with Lagunitas and the Cascadian Dark Ale style.

Controversial attempts to trademark beer styles and terms show no slowing down, as evidenced by another ongoing legal battle between Steamworks Brewing owner Eli Gershkovitch and Colorado's Left Hand Brewing over the term "Nitro."

Sea Urchin Ale: Balanced with Tomato Water and Spiced with Smoked Sea Salt

Sea Urchin - Photo from Monterey Bay Aquarium
You may be wondering why there is a photo of a porcupine's ass on the bottom of the sea in the photo above. It's actually a sea urchin and it is the latest and what may be the most unusual ingredient in a Jason McAdam beer yet. Based on a hundreds-year-old recipe unearthed recently during an excavation of a deep sea, I just made that Sam Calagione-sounding bullshit up, this is totally new. When Riffle NW, a new but already already acclaimed and very popular fresh catch-inspired Portland seafood restaurant, approached Burnside Brewing Co. Brewmaster Jason McAdam with brewing a seafood-inspired beer, he jumped at the chance. Known for his unusual ingredients and experimental nature, Mr. McAdam recently won a GABF gold medal for his Sweet Heat, a popular staple in Burnside Brewing's lineup.

pFriem Belgian Christmas Ale Release

Oh Hey, our homies at pFriem Family Brewers in Hood River keep cranking out awesome new Pacific NW interpretations of classic Belgian-style beers, and their home-away-from-home, Bazi Bierbrasserie, is consistently hosting them in Portland. This is great news, as the pFriem crew will be celebrating the release of their first winter ale, a Belgian Christmas Ale (oooh, so faux pas!), on Thursday, November 29, from 6-9 PM at Bazi. Meet Brewmaster Josh Pfriem who is one of the nicest guys in the biz, in person .

2012 Holiday Beer Geek Gift Guide - Part 1

Well, someone had to compile the list of the ultimate gadgets and gifts for the beer geeks in your life. Leave it to The New School to compose a geeky but self-deprecating list of awesome and/or useless items you absolutely must not need. In truth, we are the geekiest of all and found so much coolness/weirdness that one post could not contain them all. So, without further ado, here are the first 10 of 25 Holiday Beer Geek Gifts for 2012 rated in categories of "Beer Money" and "Beer Geek Cred" with a 0 to five * score.

Who Owns the Cascadian Dark Ale?

Cascadia trademarked by Steamworks Brewery, Vancouver, BC

Though the battle lines are still drawn, the field of battle has been rather quiet in the Black IPA vs. Cascadian Dark Ale debate. So, leave it to a small brewery in Vancouver, BC to stir controversy by staking its flag firmly into "Cascadia" as its own trademark. Never mind that Cascadia refers to a region that comprises Oregon, Washington, and parts of Canada and Idaho, or the fact that breweries have now been using the term for years. The resulting legal battle could be much more than an argument over style definitions; it would cross borders into trademark laws and even ask the question of whether a style of beer, like so many other famous alcoholic beverages, can become specifically and legally associated with a specific region.

Double Mountain Brewery & Podnah's Pit team for a German inspired Dinner

image from The Chive
If Turkey Day is just not enough feasting for you then Double Mountain Brewery and Portland's best BBQ purveyors Podnah's Pit  have just the ticket for this coming Tuesday November 27th. This beer dinner of epic proportions is a German inspired family-style dinner with smoked pork chops, ribs, sausages, bacon, sauerkraut, salads, and pickled vegetables accompanied by 8 different Double Mountain beers and kolaches for dessert. If your a fan of DM or just terrific bbq and/or German food this is absolutely cant miss dinner. I have my seat reserved, do you have yours?

There are 2 different seatings, one at 5:30 and the second 8:00pm. The cost is $45, not including tip, and you can reserve your seat by calling the restaurant with payment.

Podnah's Pit
1625 NE Killingsworth | Portland, OR | 503-281-3700

Black Friday: Punk Rock-Inspired Beer

This Black Friday--the day after Thanksgiving--is the release of Upright Brewing's "Untitled," a beer inspired by the seminal D.C. punk band Bad Brains. It's sort of a companion piece to 2010's untitled "Clash" beer. Both beers make up a new punk rock tribute series that will see releases rotate, with a new one coming out every other year. So, 2012 will be "Untitled" Bad Brains and 2013 will see The Clash tribute resurface.

But I digress. The "Untitled" beer is a strong dark lager that comes off like a lager version of a Cascadian Dark Ale in some ways. The bottle artwork--designed by yours truly--is in the same minimal colors of the previous Clash tribute beer, this time adopting Bad Brains' rastafarian red, yellow, and green. and the band's trademark imagery that includes a lightning bolt. I am also excited that we will have brand new limited edition Upright Brewing t-shirts bearing the new artwork.

The New School's Guide to Thanksgiving

Photograph by Trent Lanz
It's only 2 days until Thanksgiving now, and, as usual, I have procrastinated on my annual duties of prepping dishes. But like any good beer geek, I have planned the craft beer portion of the holiday well in advance. Like Bill at the It's Pub Night blog, I have become a skeptic about cooking with beer as an ingredient. Beer Can Chicken has been shown to be a very bad idea, and I am not sure that a brownie mixed with chocolate stout is actually better than the real chocolate added to it. This is not to say that all cooking with beer is bad; The Beer Goddess's Cranberry Sauce made with Fruit Lambic comes out great, and adding some Schlenkerla Rauchbier to your baked beans is a can't miss. All I am saying is think twice before you pour a bottle of a little-known imperial stout into your homemade beer cheese soup (as I did in 2007 with a little beer called The Abyss). As Bill pointed out last year, is any food really any tastier using a bottle of The Dissident in the mix, or would the same beer taste even better down your gullet?

Now, I am no chef, but I do happen to know a thing or two about pairing flavors and recipes. I have been tasked with providing beer for many a Thanksgiving dinne,r a duty I don't take lightly. The hardest part about beer and food pairing is avoiding the obvious; just because two items may taste similar does not necessarily make either one taste any better when they are paired together.

Elysian: MORTIS Persimmon Sour Ale Release Party

The latest release (#11) in Elysian Brewing's 12 Beers of the Apocalypse series is called Mortis: Sour Persimmon Ale. It sounds quite interesting, and sour beer lovers should be pleased. You can join Elysian in Portland to celebrate its release at the Blitz Pearl Pub on Wednesday, November 21st, from 5-8pm

Good News: Full Sail's Session Red and Black Coming to 6-Packs

Good news for those who don't like committing to a full case of beer at a time, or those who, like me, don't buy more beer than they can carry in their hands. Today Full Sail Brewing announced the popular Session Red and Black are coming to 6-packs.

Viking Braggot Brewing Co. Coming to Eugene, OR

Another revelation recently uncovered in OLCC filings is another brewery coming to Eugene under the name of Viking Braggot Brewing Company. Founded by two recent graduates from the University of Oregon's College of Business, this won't be your typical brewery, as the plan is to focus on brewing braggots. If you have never heard of a braggot, that's OK because they are a pretty uncommon style of beer brewed with honey. Basically a hybrid of mead (fermented alcoholic honey) and beer, braggot tastes similar to what you would expect, a 2008 BJCP describes the overall impressions as:

"A harmonious blend of mead and beer, with the distinctive characteristics of both. A wide range of results are possible, depending on the base style of beer, variety of honey and overall sweetness and strength. Beer flavors tend to somewhat mask typical honey flavors found in other meads."

Viking Brewing plans to launch in January with two different styles brewed on a 3-barrel nano system. Plans call for 22oz bottles and draft sales with limited dock sales hours (no brewpub), with hopes to open a tasting room down the line. Co-Founder Daniel McTavish tells me they hope to expand quickly and offer more styles after getting up and running. The guys don't have a website, but a blog tracking their path from homebrewers to pros has a couple entries posted at

UPDATED 7/1/2013 I visited Viking Braggot Company, now open.

Holiday Ale Festival: Beer List with Descriptions

Finally, here is what you have been waiting for--the entire beer list for the 17th Annual Holiday Ale Festival (November 28 - December 2nd) with full descriptions and specs. There is even the special limited edition rare tapping schedule at the bottom. Enjoy:

Bazi Bierbrasserie Debuts New Winter/Fall Menu

Bazi Bierbrasserie, perhaps Portland's only Belgian-centric and European-inspired bier bar and restaurant, is freshening up its menu for fall and winter with the assistance of recently hired Head Chef Phillip Rider, a Veritable Quandary and Marriott Waterfront alum.

Lompoc Brewing Rolls Out 7 Beer Holiday Ale Lineup

Lompoc's Head Brewer Bryan Keilty (left) and owner Jerry Fechter
Lompoc Brewing held its annual preview of winter ales this week, and as usual the lineup of beers for the the dark cold winter days is extensive. This year Lompoc has made only 7 winter beers--you know, not that impressive (note the sarcasm). Many of the beers are returning annual favorites, but each year the recipes can change slightly, some disappear while others make grand entrances, and this year is no different.

Growler Wars: The Pros, Cons, Best, and Worst of 64oz Beer To-Go Containers

By Pat Wellenbach, AP

Writing for Bon Apetit magazine, Andrew Knowlton stumbled into some unexpected controversy when he interviewed Garrett Oliver about the foibles of growlers. It turns out Garrett Oliver is not a fan of them, and in presenting Mr. Oliver's beliefs without a second opinion, Knowlton kicked up a hornet's nest of growler lovers--just check out the hilarious comments. Spoiler: I agree with Garrett Oliver, but said article feels incomplete. So, as a companion piece, I have put together this piece to sort fact from fiction, poll other brewing experts on their opinions, and run down the best and worst growlers available on the market.

Coming Soon: Portland Cider Co.

From the wonderful world of OLCC licensing applications I have learned of a new craft cidery opening up in the white-hot hard cider market around next April. Portland Cider Co. is--misleadingly--located in Oregon City and is a venture from a 5 year cider homebrewing enthusiast, Jeff Parrish.

The Portland Cider Co. operation currently is just a 2, 500 square foot production facility located  on Beavercreek Rd in Oregon City with no plans of a tasting room or retail outlet. The new production facility is pressing enough juice to produce about 4, 000 cases of cider in the year, with plans of much larger growth. Look for bottles of semi-dry and a relatively sweet hard cider in 22oz brown bottles in March.  Portland Cider kegs should bee available in the spring, with other flavors following in the summer.

Hop in The Saddle Launch Party

A new book being released this Thursday written by Portlanders explores our great beer city by bicycle. Hop in the Saddle is co-written by friend of The New School, Lucy Burningham, who has written some notable articles about craft beer in The New York Times, Imbibe Magazine, Saveur, and more.

Funded primarily through a successful Kickstarter campaign, the book's three contributors have launched a successful marketing campaign for what is sure to be a must buy release for our local avid bicycle riding and craft beer swilling populace. Celebrating its release in style and in a way only Portland could, they are throwing the book release party at Velo Cult, a combination bike workshop and craft beer bar. But that's not all--there is enough cool stuff going on at this party that you cannot afford to miss it.

Gigantic Brewing's Ume Umai Beer Debuts at Izakaya Festival

Portland is getting a taste of Japanese pub culture this Friday, 11/16, when our first ever Izakaya Festival takes place at the Jupiter Hotel. This unique fest shines a spotlight on Japanese art, cuisine, shochu, saké, and beer for NW drink connoisseurs and foodies alike. With Portland's craft beer-minded consumer in mind, the festival has wisely teamed up with Gigantic Brewing to create a beer called "Ume Umai" brewed with black rice and plums just for this event.

10 Barrel Brewing: New Bottle Releases and Boise Brewpub Back on Track

10 Barrel Brewmaster Jimm Seifrit celebrates
In recent days 10 Barrel Brewing out of Bend has managed to get its Boise brewpub back on track after settling with the local alcohol control board over licenses. Read about the previous troubles here. This will get the construction on the new brewery--where Shawn Kelso will be brewing--started again, with a new target opening date of April, a full year later than originally planned.

New Bottle Releases:
Luckily there is some good news about new beers coming much sooner: Raspberry Tart, a popular Framboise-style sour fruit creation from Tonya Cornett's pilot brew program, is coming to 22oz bottles in about 3 weeks! In addition to that, you can look forward to a special winter/holidays release of a wax dipped bottles of an Imperial Rye beer aged in rye whiskey barrels. No more details were available, but more should emerge soon on these exciting new releases.

Chris Hodge To Be New Chief Beer Executive for Worthy Brewing

Holy Hell!  Worthy Brewing Company of Bend, Oregon, announced today that it has hired craft beer maven Chris Hodge as its Chief Beer Executive. This is big news for the craft beer industry, given Hodge's years of experience and as an important player in the distribution world of craft beer.

Tasting Beer and Other Digital Beer Books

Looking to expand your beer education? Books on craft beer are more plentiful than ever and have entered the 21st century with digital copies for your Kindle and iPad. I must admit I am one of those guys that has his eyes glued to a screen at all times and I find it difficult to concentrate on a book off of the computer. Digital books offer an approachable, sometimes more interactive, and usually cheaper alternative to paper copies, plus your twitter and facebook feeds are only an open browser window away. Take, for example, Randy Mosher's Tasting Beer, newly available from Inkling for iPad, iPhone, or web reader. It is a shining example on how to add value to a book when going digital.

16 Tons 2nd Annual Coffee Ale Fest

Eugene's 16 Tons Cafe presents the 2nd Annual Coffee Ale Fest on Saturday and Sunday November 10th and 11th.
Last year the fest focused on coffee stouts, but this expands to include coffee-infused IPAs, Cascadian Dark Ales, Winter Ales, a Blonde Ale, and even a Weizen Bock. Local coffee beer experts Oakshire Brewing will feature 3 different coffee beers, including a special version of the Ill Tempered Gnome holiday offering. 

Also, fresh pulled shots of Water Avenue Coffee to accompany any brew will be available for just $1, as well as several single origin cold-brewed coffees to add extra punch and unique flavors to the beers!

Breweries include:
Oakshire, Cascade, Fort George, Hopworks, Boneyard, Gilgamesh, New Belgium, Rogue Tracktown, Kona, Evil Twin, Mikkeller, Nectar Ales, Southern Tier, AleSmith, Great Divide, Epic, Midnight Sun, and more!

16 Tons Cafe (The Supreme Bean) is located in Woodfield Station at 2864 Willamette, #500.

Guinness Generous Holiday Ale

Guinness continues to expand its brand lately. In addition to all the variations of the classic stout, the brewery introduced Guinness Black Lager last year and has now announced a winter ale--Guinness Generous Ale. More info from the press announcement below.

A Flight of Spicy Suds

This Thursday (11/8) Burnside Brewing Co. will have special flights of three terrifically spicy beers available. Fresh off their Gold Medal win for Sweet Heat in the Herb/Spice beer category at the Great American Beer Festival, the guys at Burnside are celebrating by tapping a special one-off blend of International Incident with Upright Brewing's Fatali Four and another gin barrel-aged rendition of International Incident that was soured with fresh mangoes in the barrel.

First Look: Base Camp Brewing's Tasting Room - Opens Friday

all photos by "SNOB" Ritch © The New School
How long has it been since Base Camp Brewing was first announced on this blog? Well, 5 or so stories, later the brewery is actually opening, believe it or not. I don't want to knock on wood (because I hear it isn't good), but the word on the street is this Friday, Nov. 2nd and Saturday, Nov. 3rd owner, Justin Fay and his crew are celebrating with two days of beer and food from on-site food cart Pizza Box.

The Horse Brass Celebrates 36th Anniversary with Special Tappings

Today Portland's famous Horse Brass Pub celebrates it' 36th Anniversary, but if you have not visited recently, you have probably not heard about it. To celebrate the occasion numerous special beers will be tapped, some of them brewed specifically for the event.