A skip over the Columbia River to Washougal, Washington to pick-up beers from 54-40 Brewing yield’s a plush new canned beer called Crushed Velvet IPA. Coming soon this April, the brewery will release 1862 Mexican-style Light Lager and Wit Clá in cans, and then River Road Pilsner hits in July.
The bad news is that 54-40’s annual Outlaw Festival that is usually held in June, will be delayed or canceled due to the pandemic. Outlaw Fest is a music and beer festival that benefits the Camas Washougal Community Chest, so it was especially disappointing to brewery owner Bolt Minister.
“Hopefully, we can find a date in 2020 once normalcy resumes, otherwise we’ll just shoot for 2021,” says Minister.
Crushed Velvet IPA
Crushed Velvet IPA was released last week in 16oz cans. This oatmeal IPA was first brewed last year as a draft-only release and was popular among the brewery staff. Crushed Velvet has that modern tropical and citrus fruit hop profile from simcoe, mandarina bavaria and citra hops, with a creamy full mouthfeel from the oats. Mango and citrus flavors linger with this ultra smooth IPA.
7.4% ABV and 40 IBU’s, available now in 16oz cans and 4-packs.
1862 Mexican-style Light Lager
In April, 54-40 will can their popular spring seasonal 1862 Mexican-style Light Lager for the first time. In 2018 it won a Gold medal at the Washington Beer Awards, so you know it’s going to be good.
1862 is loaded up with lots of flaked corn, flaked rice and some dextrose sugar to lighten the body and color while leaving a bit of body and flavor.
“I think you know I love using adjunct,” says Minister. “It’s dumb light in color and how easy it drinks, probably one of the funniest beers we make all year.”
Mexican soldiers defeated French occupiers on May 5th of 1862. This battle was known as the Battle of Puebla and today celebrated in Mexico as El Día de la Batalla de Puebla, but in the US we simply celebrate it as Cinco de Mayo. 1862 Mexican lager is incredibly light bodied and drinks dry and crisp with a delicate touch of sweetness on the end. Best when served with a lime and drank by the ocean, but a kiddie pool works in a pinch.
4.8% ABV and 10 IBU in 12oz cans and 6-packs beginning April 9th.
Wit Clá Belgian-style Wit Ale
Ain’t no laws when you drinkin Clás! The 5440 came up with the concept for this fairly traditional beer last summer, presumably while sipping white claws and Hoegaarden’s when one splashed into the other. Clás is really a pretty traditional Belgian-style white ale featuring white wheat, freshly cracked coriander seed and sweet orange peel. The brewers fermented it out with Imperial Yeast’s Whiteout yeast strain and added fresh macerated navel orange peel in the brite tank at the end. Where Clás strays from tradition is in a light dry-hopping with German-grown Huell Melon hops that give a touch of balance to the creamy, bready body and sweet and citrusy spicing.
At 4.3% ABV and 12 IBU’s, it’s a great beer for spring time in can. The carb is high and it drinks ridiculously easy. 12oz cans of Clás drop on April 9th at the brewery.
River Road Pilsner
Another beer that 54-40 has been fond of but has never made it into cans is coming this summer with River Road Pilsner. Brewed since 2016 and named after the Washougal River Road that runs through their town, this classic German-style Pils uses German malt, Oregon-grown santiam and perle hops. 30 IBU and is 4.5% ABV, look for 12oz cans in July.
Like many breweries, 54-40 is shutdown for dine-in or drink-in service due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The good news is they are offering curbside take out and plan to launch delivery soon. Call and order your six pack today at (360) 844-5932 from 12pm to 6pm Wednesday to Sunday.
“We’ve just been grateful for the community support through this all. I couldn’t ask to be surrounded by better people,” says Minister. “I think I’m just missing being around familiar faces of late. I miss our employees and seeing our regulars. I know we’ll get through this, but it can sometimes feel like quite a slog.”
Through it all, Minister and his crew at 54-40 is trying to stay positive and to see this crisis through to the end.
“I know that there’s going to be folks that aren’t going to weather this and I hate to see good people and businesses fail out of no fault of their own,” says Minister, who has no plans to slow down at 54-40 with your continued support.
Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.