Via Chicago - Opening this Sunday

From two of the original owners of the Green Dragon comes the new brick and mortar location for Via Chicago a popular mobile food vendor from husband and wife team Kevin Reynolds and Tonya Mayhew. You may have caught their delicious deep dish pies at the PSU farmers market but finally opening a set location will allow them to bring in one of their other passions - Craft Beer. We will feature more of a review of the pizza and beers after they open this Sunday for the Super Bowl from 11am - 10pm but suffice it to say in addition to great pizza they feature 8 taps and a bottle to go selection.

2013 NE Alberta St
Portland, Oregon 97211
Phone (503) 621-8157

Ultimate Guide to the Malt Ball

The Portland Mercury's Malt Ball festival combines craft beer and local indie bands and returns for its 2nd year this Saturday, February 2nd, at the Wonder Ballroom. Last year's fest was interesting if not a bit hectic, and clustered in the Bossanova Ballroom. Here is hoping the larger Wonder will allow for an even better show. Among the many, many Oregon breweries that will have beer at the Malt Ball, 12 of them will have new beers made in collaboration with bands they were paired up with. I tracked down the various brewers to get descriptions of all these new brews and how they came about.

5th annual Zwickelmania: Oregon Brewery Tour

In what has become one of the largest events for Oregon Craft beer - Zwickelmania is returning on Saturday February 16th. Last year an astounding 23, 000 people visited Oregon breweries on Free Zwickelmania shuttle buses that are located in Portland, Bend, Salem and Eugene and entry is free at all participating breweries.

First Look at Breakside Brewery's New Milwaukie Taproom

The long awaited, highly anticipated new Breakside Brewery production facility in Milwaukie, OR, finally opens its tasting room to the public today, Wednesday, January 30th. Situated in a business park off the path of any foot traffic or shopping, the warehouse space looks primarily to be a spot for brewing large amounts of delicious beer and for local office workers to stop after their shifts for a beer or a growler to take home.

VIDEO: Oregon State University's Fermentation Sciences Program

Oregon State University in Corvallis operates one of the only fermentation sciences programs in the United States and one of only two that offer four-year degrees in it. It's probably part of why Oregon has so many great breweries and craft beer is such an ingrained part of our culture in the Pacific Northwest. Last year I got to visit the program and marveled about how I missed out on my brief term at OSU, and how cool it is that these students get to brew on the pilot system and drink their creations while spearheading new hop varieties like Cascade that were created at the university. OSU is wisely beginning to publicize the program more with a series of well produced videos included here.


One thing I learned from said videos: Bridgeport Brewing uses OSU as a pilot brewing facility, where many of its new beers were first created.

More info on OSU's fermentation sciences program and more videos at:

Philadelphia's Brewing Up Expansion Project/New Brewery 13 Virtues

Philadelphia's Steaks and Hoagies in the Sellwood/Eastmoreland neighborhood has for a longtime existed on the outskirts of craft beer drinkers' minds. Many may even forget the brewery's existence until its annual appearances at the Portland Fresh Hop Festival and Cheers to Belgian Beers. It's an unlikely brewery, and an even more unlikely space in what may be the most cramped quarters in town and what was (until recently) the self proclaimed "Oregon's smallest licensed microbrewery." Philadelphia's is also one of Oregon's oldest continually-operating breweries (14th?) and it's finally getting a major and much deserved upgrade.

Bruce MacPhee out, Dave Fleming in at Coalition Brewing

Elan Walsky and Bruce MacPhee left, Dave "Chowdah" Fleming right

Word comes to us that founding Brewmaster at Coalition Brewing, Bruce MacPhee, has left to pursue opening his own brewery in California. Oregon's pinch hitter of brewing, always available to help out, Dave Fleming, has stepped in. Dave "Chowdah" Fleming spent years as Head Brewer at the Lucky Lab, then at Three Creeks in Sisters, Lompoc in Portland, and more recently helping out at the new Kells Brewpub and Willamette Valley Hops. Expect Dave to stay on board as a temporary brewer while assistant brewer and co-owner Elan Walsky figures things out. Time will tell how this will affect the brewery.

Bruce MacPhee was a skilled and experienced brewer with over ten years of industry experience and was previously with Deschutes Brewing. Word is he was once groomed to be the Brewmaster in Portland for Deschutes before he left for Coalition Brewing. He was known for his love of traditional English and American-style ales and always seemed happy to brew the classics; he was not one for new styles or trends.

Gluten-Free Beer Dinner and Seminar

In what may be the first gluten-free beer pairing dinner I have heard of Nourish Northwest is taking over the kitchen at Bazi Bierbrasserie on Saturday, January 26 from 2-3 PM for a pairing dinner with Belgium's Green's beers. (Along with the Omission series Green's gets my vote as best gluten-free beers produced.) The evening starts out with a seminar where attendees get to:

Barley's Angels presents special Tasting & Tour with Oakshire Brewing


Barley's Angels is an organization open to all women lovers of craft beer. There are 37 chapters found in six countries. The Eugene chapter lead by Christine Jump has a great event set up with Oakshire Brewing and Matt Van Wyk on Saturday January 26th.

Beer Cycling Celebrates 3 Years with new Tours

Portland is well known for our bicycle and beer culture, Belgium is the grandaddy of this great tradition and fittingly the Portlanders at offer amazing tours of Europe by bike. Now in their 3rd year they are introducing a new “9-day Brussels to Amsterdam Endeavour” tour, a “3-day Belgium Sampler” tour, and a “3-Day Taste of Holland” tour in addition to their already popular “10-day Flanders Adventure”. In total there are six different sets of tour dates currently available, the first of which kicks off on April 14th in Brussels, and continues throughout the summer.

The New Portland Brewing Co.

 What once was old is new again.

We knew this was coming from recently revealed bottle labels and packaging but the official announcement that Portland Brewing Co. is back also reveals a trio of new beers and that the MacTarnahan's line will be reduced to just the flagship Amber Ale.

Full Barleywine Taplist revealed for Swine & Barley Wine Fest

As previously reported here, today Tuesday 1/22 is Lardo's Swine and Barley Wine event and they have an even more impressive and comprehensive beer list than previously reported. In addition to the few spots open still for the Beer and Cheese pairing with Steve Jones, there will be all of these beautiful Barleywines and North Coast beers on tap. This is also the Oregon release for the 2013 vintage of Old Stock. Of course there will be a crazy menu and pig roast to accompany all the booze, more details on that from our previous post on the matter.

Belmont Station's New Covered Patio Expansion

Belmont Station's new insulated expansion project is coming along quickly. Just check out these photos on a nice sunny winter day and how the sun will hit the seating area just right through those roll-up doors on the south side. More on the expansion from our earlier coverage.

GoodLife Brewing Company Expands

Bend, OR's underrated GoodLife Brewing Company seems to be doing well. Only eighteen months after opening, the brewery is increasing its capacity by over 60% with new 30 BBL and 120 BBL fermenters.
This is good news for me, as I recently fell in love with the Descender IPA. Also keep an eye out for the 29'er India Brown Ale. According to a press release...

Magic Hat Brewing Now Available in Oregon

Depending on who you ask, Magic Hat Brewing's #9 is either one of their favorite beers or total crap.  Technically not craft beer since it, along with Pyramid Brewing, is part of North American Breweries, which is now owned by Cerveceria Costa Rica, it was still many folks from Vermont's first intro to craft beer. When North American Breweries bought both Magic Hat and Pyramid Breweries in August 2010, excited speculation was rampant that we would soon see Magic Hat in Oregon. That turned out not to be the case, until now....

Omission IPA Coming Soon, Along With 5 Other New Releases From Widmer Brothers

Is this the new face of gluten-free beer? Earlier this week Widmer Brothers held a big media event showcasing new beers like Columbia Common, O'Ryely IPA, and new versions of KGB Russian Imperial Stout, including a standalone version and twists that feature chocolate and raspberries. However, I think the biggest news went unreported--the popular gluten-free Omission brand will finally get an IPA in April, with an early test batch being poured (for the first time ever) on draft at February 2nd's Malt Ball.

Upright/Burnside Brewing Captain Beef Heart

mmmm...Beef Heart Beer

Is it a beer or is it an animal product? The new beer from Upright Brewing made in collaboration with Jason McAdam of Burnside Brewing is actually named in honor of late great musician Captain BeefHeart. Fittingly, the beer is made with real beef hearts grilled by the brewers themselves. If you haven't happened upon this outlandish creation at the Grain & Gristle already, it is making its official debut with a meet-the-brewer event today at Belmont Station.

Rasputin-Approved: Swine & Barley Wine Fest

Pig Out, the fictional production company behind my new favorite place Lardo, is inviting you to "Celebrate the 144th Birthday of Grigori Rasputin, "The Mad Monk"", aka simply as Rasputin, on Tuesday, January 22nd. For this occasion, dubbed Swine & Barley Wine, Lardo is rolling out an all-day beer and food pairing event that looks to be an absolutely can't miss affair for any beer-swilling carnivore.

Piss and Vinegar: Beer Confusion

Beer fanatics love geeking out over the wide selection of beers available to us, even to the point of obsessing over the ingredients. It's a great feeling to walk into a bar and see a row of 20, 30, or 50 taps of great beer sticking out of a wall. But what if the personnel at that multi-tap bar don't share your obsession? Are you always sure that you've been served the beer you ordered and so eagerly anticipated? Did you get the correct beer, served in the correct condition? Or did the server's Beer Confusion get in the way?

It's easy to forgive beer ignorance or confusion at restaurants that happen to have a decent beer selection -- the waitstaff and even the management is focused on food or atmosphere, and beer is just one of the many bases they are trying to cover. But even at multi-tap bars with a focus on beer, it happens far too often that the bartenders or servers have little expertise in what they're serving. Here in Portland, Henry's Tavern springs to mind as a bar which proudly boasts a gigantic beer menu, but where the waitresses--though nice to look at--have no idea what any of the beers are like, which taps have run out, or what the serving size will be.

Two new Bottle Releases from Gigantic Brewing: The End of Reason & The Time Traveler

The End of Reason
A Petite Quad. Similar in flavor and aroma as a belgian quad, but at 8.3% it's quite a bit smaller than typical quads (10-12%). Not a dubbel - those are around 6.5%, not a tripel - those are golden, and not big enough in abv to be a quad. Complex malt flavors, caramel, dark fruit, belgian yeast spice.
Label is done by Buzz Parker. Buzz is an artist/illustrator residing in beautiful Humboldt County, CA. He likes to draw & paint fantasic tree houses, incredible plants and a leafy creature he's created named Bigleaf. He's also an illustrator with Emily the Strange
Check him out here:

Welcome to the new - New School

Announcing a new website relaunch and new regular contributors

2012 Year in Review

Rate Beer founder Joseph Tucker, Brian Yaeger, Kimberley Yaeger and Izzy
Writing up one’s Year-in-Review is an important way to ruminate on one’s personal growth and reflect on milestones social and societal. This was the year NASA landed Curiosity Rover on Mars and a skydiver jumped from the stratosphere. This was the year over 140 people were gunned down in mass murder sprees in the US including one right here in Portland that was instantly overshadowed. It was the year the Mayans earned a #Fail for their End of the World goof. Beer-wise, 2012 witnessed the birth of many new bouncing, baby breweries in the Portland area. To wit: Pints, Kells, Sasquatch, Base Camp, Gigantic, Fire on the Mountain, Stickmen, and Short Snout. Stretching throughout Oregon, we welcomed Pfriem Family Brewers, Solera, Seaside, Tandem, Plank Town, Santiam, Sky High, Dragon’s Gate, Crux Fermentation Project, Ale Apothecary, Worthy, Smith Rock, Conner Fields, Old 99, and apparently a braggotery (my word) called Fire Cirkl.

Worthy Brewing Co. Announces Opening Date

Worthy Brewing, Bend, Oregon's highly anticipated new brewery from the folks behind Indie Hops and Chad Kennedy, former Laurelwood Brewmaster, is pulling the trigger and opening on February 4th. The ambitious brewing project built from the ground up has its own campus that includes a brewery lab, brewing facilities, conference rooms for brew school, a small hop garden, an herb garden, a greenhouse, a patio, and a multi-level tasting room with a wood fired pizza oven. All this located on the rather empty East Side of Bend, which is likely the only place a project this large could be constructed.

Stumptown Coffee/Sixpoint Brewing Collaboration Beer in Cans

Duane Sorenson, founder of Portland's Stumptown Coffee Roasters and entrepreneur behind The Woodsman Tavern & Market and Ava Gene's, is also a pretty well-known beer geek. For the 2nd time Stumptown Coffee is collaboration with Brooklyn, NY's Sixpoint Brewery on a new coffee and chocolate beer. Hopefully, like their previous collaboration Berserker Bock, they will bring some of this beer to Oregon. This beer is slated to be released momentarily in cans.

Oakshire Brewing Announces Hellshire III Release

Oakshire Brewing will release its 3rd annual barrel-aged Imperial Stout under the Hellshire III name on Saturday, February 16th. The first Hellshire, released during the 2011 Eugene Beer Week, was met with great reviews and high beer geek demand for a limited product. Unfortunately, Hellshire II was marred by a slight lactobacillus contamination. No doubt Hellshire III will bring the series back on track after already winning a Gold Medal in November at Chicago's annual Festival of Wood & Barrel Aged Beer. Hellshire III a Foreign Style Stout aged for nearly a year in bourbon barrels from Heaven Hills Distillery in Kentucky.

Evolution of Craft Beer Packaging

Beer packaging has continually evolved. The once-popular canned beer was derided until recently as an inferior alcoholic delivery system, glass having been the preferred method for decades. Advanced civilization learned that clear glass and even green glass was inferior to brown glass. Now, in the 21st century, the packaging is once again taking a leap, and I don't mean the current trend back towards cans that are now safely lined to protect craft beer. I mean there have been new leaps taken towards packaging in paper and plastic. Packaging is a logical extension of what happens outside the bottle, and a companion to our recent pieces on Craft Beer Branding in the 21st Century and growlers.

Gigantic Brewing's Van Havig on Craft Beer's Victory

In the early days of Gigantic Brewing's construction, co-owner Ben Love mentioned that he planned to get into doing short videos as part of the brewery's promotional efforts. It looks like we have the first of such videos with this short clip of co-owner Van Havig talking about the abundance of craft beer in Oregon, interspersed with historical clips and footage. It's definitely worth a couple of minutes of your time.

Exciting 1st Quarter Beer Releases in 2013

Man, beer news is SLOW right now. If you're not sick of best of the year and top 10 lists by now, you're a better man/woman than I. There are not even many beer events, it's so slow that Belmont Station's upcoming events and tasting calendar is blank! What is new, though, is a bunch of limited edition bottle releases and seasonals from some of your favorite brewers. There is actually quite an impressive lineup of astounding beers on the market right now, with some of my new favorites and greatest hits of 2012 hitting the market again. Here is a look at some of these new releases hitting the market now and over the next two weeks.

Oregon Brewers Shift Gigs

As breweries' mash tuns slow to a winter grind, craft beer news is slow in Oregon and around the country as drinkers huddle around their home fires to do their drinking. Even so, there have been quite a few recent shifts in local brewing teams.

Scott Guckel - Photo from The Oregonian
Old Town Brewing's first and only Brewmaster, Scott Guckel, recently announced that he would be leaving the recently opened startup brewery to become the first brewery employee at Gigantic Brewing in addition to owners Van Havig and Ben Love. Old Town Brewing's owner Adam Milne is currently seeking a new brewer to manage the pub operation, which is looking to begin distributing its beers shortly. Currently the NE MLK location has a very popular CDA on draft and just released a brand new Scotch Ale.

Upright Brewing Fantasia Release and a Beer Brewed with Beef Hearts

This is perfect timing in that Fantasia, which was just voted in The New School industry poll as the "Best Oregon Beer of 2012," has received a release date for 2013. The barrel fermented Lambic-style beer with peaches was received with a huge line to purchase bottles upon its first release and great reviews on Beer Advocate and RateBeer.