Art & Beer’s Five Best Pairings

Last weekend I attended Art & Beer: Pitchering Oregon at the Portland Art Museum. Upon entering the Mark Building I was directed to the Kridel Grand Ballroom, which featured 18 local beers brewed special for this event. The ballroom was lined with giant banners and large ever-changing screens of the Oregon-based artworks featured in the show, with the representing taps flowing below them. The actual paintings and photos were on view next door in the Main Building and safe from the beer, where some of the museum’s permanent collection could be defaced with a splash of adult beverage. A compilation of 12 of the photos and paintings were on display in the Lower Level of the museum, where you could also find a few of the artists talking about their work. The art and the beer pairings were magnificent. Here are some of the highlights, in no particular order.

Breakside Brewery’s “Delicate As” funkiness emulated the attitude of Bobby Abrahamson’s photograph “Bob and the Puddle Cutters.” This 4.3% ABV, 13 IBU  grisette had a big aroma yet mellow mouthfeel. Bobby’s photo of himself and fellow St Johns neighborhood moped riders seemed most fittingly represented by this one-off brew.

Minor White (American, 1908-1976), Untitled (Grain Elevators), ca. 1939, gelatin silver print, Courtesy of the Fine Arts Program, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration. Commissioned through the New Deal art projects, public domain, L42.2.5

Widmer’s “Minor Industrial White Lager” stood out with it’s big bright taste and golden hue.  This pre-prohibition lager was inspired by Minor White’s Untitled photo of grain silos, much like the ones near Widmer Brothers Brewery today. Widmer scaled-down the recipe to 5.5 gallons for home-brewers, (see recipe to the right). To view more of Minor White’s photographs you can visit the Portland Art Museum December 9th through May 6th.

Michael Brophy (American, born 1960), Harvest, 1995, oil on canvas, Gift of Laura Russo and Lucinda Parker, � Michael Brophy and The Laura Russo Gallery, 1995.32

De Garde’s “Ferme et Foret” was the opposite of cut & dry. This wild ale was zestful and intoxicating at 5% ABV, 30 IBU.  Inspired by Michael Brophy’s larger than life painting of a NW forest area, “Harvest,” is a must-see painting of our times and is on permanent display on the 3rd floor of the Main Building.

Mark Andres (American, born 1959), Nocturne (Astoria), 2015, acrylic on canvas, Gift of Bill Rhoades in memory of Murna and Vay Rhoades, © Mark Andres, 2015.147.3

Fort George’s “Nocturne” was inspired by the painting of Astoria at night. Artist Mark Andres of Portland spoke about his painting also named “Nocturne,” and how the clouds and the windows in the houses reflect light and colors. The brewer, David Coyne, said he sees this very same view often while living in Astoria. This 7.5% stout was packed with berries to match the mysterious darkness of the painting. Nocturne stout is now available on tap at Fort George Brewery & Taproom; get it while its there.

Norma Driscoll Gilmore (American, born 1927), Untitled (Skinner’s Butte with Industrial Area Below), 1950/2006, oil on canvas, Bequest of Dr. Francis J. Newton, © unknown, research required, 2006.47.4

A close approximation of the same view of Skinner Butte in Norma Gilmore’s painting from current day Google Maps. That’s the current Wildcraft facility in the white building on the right.

Wildcraft Cider Works “Skinner’s Time Capsule” Botanical Dry Cider was crisp, slightly sweet and refreshing. The cider was a perfect match for Eugene-based artist Norma Driscoll Gilmore’s Untitled painting of Skinner’s Butte in Eugene, with an industrial area below. The painting depicts an actual Eugene location where Wildcraft Cider now sits in the foreground. While viewing her painting and telling a friend about a recent trip to Eugene and the Cider Works location the artist came up to us and joined in conversation. Born in the late 1920s, she described how a fire destroyed some of the landscape in the image and it no longer looks the same as in her painting. With wavy silver bobbed hair, large sunglasses and a long, puffy light grey coat, she reminded me of a movie star. I felt like the stars aligned for me to be able to meet her in person at this spectacular event.

Heather Egizio
Heather Egizio

Heather Egizio has been a part of the Portland craft beer scene for a decade volunteering at local events and fundraisers. She has homebrewed with the High Street Homebrew Club and LOLA (Ladies of Lagers & Ale) and had the opportunity to guest brew at numerous commercial breweries in Portland. One of her favorite past-times is hiking with Beers Made by Walking in Forest Park.