Finally……..Goodbye WordPress, Hello BeerBlotter.com

BeerBlotter.com

***IF YOU ARE READING THIS – GET ON OVER TO BEERBLOTTER.COM! WE HAVE STOPPED USING THIS SITE AS OF MARCH 27, 2011***

 

For the past 16 months, Beer Blotter has been hosted on WordPress.com. Not any more. Due to my ineptitude with exporting our hard work, we have been stuck on WordPress. Thankfully, we have a great support group of friends (Thanks Brian Behrens!), who helped make the transition.

So now, you can find us at BeerBlotter.com. If for some reason you actually bookmarked BeerBlotter.Wordpress.com, go ahead and make the switch now!

Stay tuned for some temporary upgrades to this site. We are still very hopeful that our custom designed site (Thanks Shane Long & Phil Weber!) will be ready to go in the near future. Thanks for reading!

The Visual Art of Craft Beer Part 1 – My Top 5

March 25, 2011 2 comments

New and...improved?

There has been quite a few stories in the beer press lately that have really got me thinking about beer artwork.  There’s the new look of Red Hook (check out this post on Washington Beer blog), a new label design for one of my favorite beers of all time – Stone Imperial Russian Stout (see this post at beernews.org), the North Coast Brewing logo upgrade (the old logo has always been a favorite of mine) and most notably the new Upright Brewing Four Play label that has been subject to much controversy (please check out this article on Beervana).

When I first started thinking about it I was leaning toward the fact that there really aren’t that many labels/logos out there that are especially noteworthy.  There’s a few that really jumped out at me right way, but for the most part…far too many exist that fail to catch my attention.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I discussed it with friends, the more epiphanies I had and the more I realized just how wrong I was.

The Classic. Is is better?

There’s actually a lot of breweries out there that are putting serious attention toward their image.  Clearly, this isn’t surprising.  Anyone possessing even the slightest bit of entrepreneurial savvy knows how important branding can be to creating a successful business.  Here, in my Visual Art of Craft Beer Series, I plan to discuss some of my favorites.  Hopefully, in doing so, I will open up the floor for debate.  I’m sure there are a bunch out there that I either don’t know about or have simply overlooked.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to present them all in this initial article, so the debate just may have to wait.  Start thinking about your choices now and see if I end up agreeing with you.

The following is my top 5.  This is not limited to logo alone.  I feel that if it were, the scope of this exercise would be drastically diminished.  This includes not only the straight forward logo of a brewery but the labels of all, most, or some of their bottles/cans/mini-kegs/what-have-you.

5) Three Floyds Brewing – FFF does not mess around.  They make some of the most unique beers in the country and their labels follow suit.  In may ways, they remind me of Garbage Pail Kids.  All have a comic book/cartoon like quality.  Some are lighthearted and humorous, others are dark and disturbing, all are well designed and fun to look at.  I’m not sure whether I like the Clockwork Orange themed Moloko Stout, Zombie Dust, or the Dark Lord (above) the best.  No matter how you look at it, they are all undeniably bad ass.

 

4) Southern Tier Brewing – The logo above isn’t very glamorous, and it by no means is the sole reason why I have put STB in the number 4 position, but I must say that I’m a very big fan of it.  I find it to be very slick, clean and simple, yet highly effective.  The tools of the trade encircled by the ingredients of the trade.  Classic.  I’ve often thought of having a variation of that logo tattooed on myself.  Good logo aside, the continuity and simplicity of all of STB’s label designs is so well done that I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised to find them being celebrated in HOW Magazine (or something similar).

 

 

3) New Belgium Brewing Lips of Faith Series – Take a minute to gaze upon the above image.  Tell me you wouldn’t want a full size print of that framed and mounted in your living room.  It’s beautiful…and it’s just a beer label.  I could have posted a picture of almost any LoF label and it would be equally stunning.  Whomever is behind this is really doing fabulous work.  Give them a raise.

 

 

2) Stone Brewing Co. – This logo is absolutely unmistakable.  It may not be number one on my list but it’s very possibly the number one most recognizable beer logo in craft brewing.  It’s bold, like Stone beers and the attitude of the owners/brewers.  If you’ve ever taken the time to read the lengthy, screen printed text on any of Stone’s 22oz bottles, you know just what I mean.  Stone is hard fucking core and their dark, devious mascot exemplifies that to the t.

 

1)  Flying Dog Brewery – Can someone please explain to me how FDB got Ralph Steadman to illustrate all of their imagery?!?!  Whether you like his style or not, this has to be the most lauded, continual collaborative effort between a brewery and a world-famous artist of all time.

Yeah, I guess I do sort of get how FDB pulled this off.  Supposedly the owners of the brewery were friends with Hunter S. Thompson.  It’s quite clear that his influence is felt throughout much of FDB’s advertising and marketing campaign.  Since Ralph Steadman is most famous for his work with Hunter S. Thompson, in lies the connection.  God knows how much money they must dish out for his work, but I for one thing it’s worth every penny.

From The Vault: A Date with The Bruery Hottenroth

Oh you beautiful thing, you

***This was one of my favorite reviews that Timperial ever did and I wanted share it with you all. Enjoy!***

 

Enjoyed on: 1/11/10

Brewery: The Bruery

Location: Placentia, CA

Beer: Hottenroth

Web: http://www.thebruery.com/

Presentation: 750 ML – Brown Glass Bottle

Vintage: 2009

Style: Berliner Weisse

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 3.1%

IBU: 2

Hops: N/A

Malt: Wheat

Vessel: Goblet

Recommended Serving Temp: 45 degrees

Notes from the bottle: Brewed in memory of Fred & Sarah Hottenroth, this traditional ale can be served with raspberry or woodruff syrup, or simply enjoyed as is! Sour = Yum!

Food Pairings: Salad, chicken, raspberry or woodruff syrup

Cheese Pairings: Brie, gouda, havarti

Beer Advocate: B+

Rate Beer: 94 (3.68)

Timperialstout’s Notes:

Once again, one requires a degree in linguistics to pronounce The Bruery’s latest offering. Luckily, their creations continue to be so downright inspirational that it’s easy to forgive them for their indulgences. Well, in this case, it seems to be a noble cause. This one is named in memory of owner and head brewer Patrick Rue’s grandparents.

First, a bit about the Berliner Weisse, for the tale is an intriguing one. A German story says that the Berliner Weisse style was once called “The Champagne of the North”. “Champagne” was actually one of the first words that came into my head after sipping this rare style, after, of course, thinking: “whoa…sour, I wasn’t expecting that”. Berliner Weisse literally translates to wheat beer from Berlin, and in addition to the obvious use of wheat, it is also characterized by a sour flavor and a very low abv. The style was once the most popular drink in Berlin, with over 700 breweries producing it. Not so rare back then, but now there are only 2 breweries left producing it in Berlin.

One thing (yes, there is a few) that Germany has been good at through the years, when it comes to brewing, is making up strange laws to govern beer’s production. The Reinheitsgobot, or German Purity Law, once strictly stated that all beer brewed in Germany must be made with water, barley and hops, and nothing else. The word “Berliner Weisse” has been reserved, much in the way that the word “Champagne” is throughout the world for sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France, for beers brewed in Berlin. In other words, you can’t produce a Berliner Weisse in Germany unless your brewery is in Berlin. Unlike the Champagne rule, the Berliner Weisse rule seems to only apply within Germany.

A final intriguing note on Berliner Weisse is that it is often traditionally served with flavored syrups to cut the tartness. The two suggestions given on the bottle are raspberry and woodruff syrup. Woodruff is a potently scented herb that is used in a variety of foods and drinks, mainly in Germany. Beyond its addition to beer, it can be found in sausages, jellies/jams, and even ice cream.

Oh by the way, we are drinking a beer here.

Pours a very peculiar hue. Extremely pale, straw-yellow that reminds me of white tea. It’s quite hazy, with sediment clumps found on the bottom of the glass. A pure white head barely rises on the pour and settles quickly. Despite the fleeting head, this brew has a lot of carbonation. Tiny bubbles quickly race from the depths of the goblet up to their freedom. This breathing lasts for quite a while. The sharpness of the fluid dancing in your mouth plays a large role in its reminiscence of Champagne.

If it weren’t for the carbonation I’d say this looks a lot like a lawnmower beer. Maybe we call this a plough beer? Either way, there is a lot of land around us…and farm animals.

We have just traveled to a backcountry German farm. A curious stroll from pasture to horse barn brings a battering to the olfactory nerves. Hay and earth and wet wood and mold and all sorts of horse related funkiness. It’s all there.

Side note: If I ever own a horse, his name will be Hottenroth, end of story!

Point is, the smells are plentiful if you really breathe deep and reflect. Wheat/hay and lactobacillus/brettanomyces (both used in fermentation) funkiness are most present, with some unleavened sourdough, a bit of lemon peel, white or skinless grapes (possibly infiltrating my mind due to the lingering Champagne thoughts) and periodically, a very faint strawberry and green apple odor persist.

The flavors…well…tart and funky, but in a really good way. Also, she is surprisingly sweet for a wheat beer. The carbonation makes it feel more like a lemon soda pop…that was…possibly left in the sun for too long…but in a good way. The wheat is omnipresent and makes it feel all the more like a hot summer day at the homestead. Ahh, escapism at its finest.

And then there is the matter of Hottenroth’s extreme session-worthiness. There is no mistake above. This beer is 3.1% abv. This is where Hottenroth is most noteworthy in my opinion. What do you session with, a lawnmower beer or a plough beer?

I’m not going to tell you that this 3.1% beer is the most complex-mind-blowing-must-buy-immediately beer I’ve ever had, but I can tell you that this sessionable beer is not thin and boring, and it sure doesn’t taste like the mash was cut with rice. It is a darn tasty beer, and you can easily drink a few of them in one sitting without slobbering on yourself and blathering like an idiot about farm animals or god-knows-what. Hottenroth is exciting, refreshing, delicious, and most of all inspiring. I choose the plough beer, and plenty of it.

My hat’s off, yet again, to the Famille Rue.

If you like Hottenroth you should try:

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery’s Festina PecheTelegraph Brewing Co.’s Berliner WeisseSly Fox Brewing Co.’s Berliner Weisse

Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard earned money at a local bottle shop.

The Hop Brief: Alpine Beer Co. Pure Hoppiness

Pure Brilliance

Enjoyed on 3/22/2011

Brewery: Alpine Beer Company

Location: Alpine, CA

Beer: Pure Hoppiness

Web: http://www.alpinebeerco.com/

Presentation: 22 oz. Brown Glass Bottle, Capped.

Vintage: 2010

Style: American Style Double India Pale Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 8.0%

IBU: “Classified”

Hops: N/A

Malt: N/A

Commercial Description:

A West Coast Double IPA
So mega-hopped it will take you to hop heaven. We’ve used hops in the boil, more hops in the giant hopback, and added to that, an incredible amount of dry-hopping for that cutting-edge “hop bite.” Once you’ve tasted this unique beer, all others pale in comparison. 1.072 OG Classified IBU 8%ABV

Beer Advocate: A (4.33)

Rate Beer: 100 (3.94)

Timperial’s Notes:

Background.

Jess & DSR got to go to San Diego Beer Week late last year. They wanted me to join them.  A bb.com trip.  I couldn’t swing it.  I may forever regret it.

Yes, there will come a day.  I will one day make it to America’s true hop haven.  In the mean time, tonight, I (finally) enjoy my Christmas gift from the better 2/3 of your blotter.  Can’t fucking wait!

Appearance.

Pure Hoppiness is pure gorgeousness in the glass.  The color is a bright, polished bronze topped with an impressive, rocky head of pure white.  The clarity is very strong but if you look closely you will see tiny little bits of hop, most likely from a generous dry-hopping after fermentation.

The crown begins proud and tall, then settles a bit around the edges.  This provokes the “rocky” moniker, creating a plateau like mound of foam that sits like a dollop of whipped cream on top.  After several minutes most of the bubbles have deflated and a very thin froth is all that remains on the surface.  The sides of the glass…riddled with sticky lace.  A constant reminder of what once was.

The carbonation appears strong to me, but considering that most PNW beers are horribly lacking in this area, maybe it’s average.

If I were to describe the appearance of my perfect IPA, this would be it to the t.  Perfect score.

Odor.

This beer definitely solicits a verbal “oh my god!” when brought to the nose.  If one could see odor, like cartoon characters can (picture a ravenously hungry wolf following the scent trails of a baking pie right up to the window of a warm, forest cottage), this would be absolutely steaming with perfume. It’s dense and sappy.  I feel like I’m wearing a hop flower as a mask.  My cilia is crowded with lupulin.  I could sneeze in a pilsner right now and it would instantly become an IPA.

The hops are well conceived and expertly blended.  Pine and flowers may be said to dominate, but pretty much every standard hop scent is present.  Admittedly, I’d be hard pressed to place tropical fruits amongst the cornucopia, but would you call that standard?  I don’t think that I would.  I digress.  Pine, flowers, citrus, bitter rind…fantastic!

The malts are able to make their presence known with only the slightest bit of warming.  They come across a bit nondescript, but they’re there.  It’s mostly a sweetness that can’t conceivably come from the other 3 ingredients in beer.  I must say that, after that initial inhale, I’m fully flabbergasted that there is any balance to this beer.  Absolutely a perfect score.

Mouthfeel.

This beer feels like it should feel across the tongue for a double IPA.  It has density.  The sugars are dissolved into solution and create a syrup without being too cloying or heavy.  Perfect in viscosity.

The carbonation calms with time, like almost every beer, and there’s not many bubbles that could penetrate the massive body anyway, but I’d still prefer there to be more of an effort.  I’d be happier with more prickle on my tongue when I swish it around a little in my mouth.  Carbonation always enhances the experience.

Flavor.

The thing here is that, after everything that has preceded this section, it almost seems unfathomable that the flavor could compete.  I can sadly say that it really doesn’t, but I feel ever so strongly about offering the disclaimer.  This IPA may just have the best nose in the world.  A well thought out usage of hopback and dry-hopping has the potential to do that.  The flavor simply can’t compare.

BUT…if I approach it with an open mind, all IPAs created equal, it’s remarkably drinkable.  The balance is sound and the bitterness is minimal.  The hops taste earthy and highly floral, the malts taste pale with a soft caramel undertone.

Sweetness and bitterness seem to converge together in a moonlit dance.  The mouthfeel, again, allows for it all to be experienced in upstanding class.  We are living in a world of hop usage nobility right now and I feel under-dressed.

Aftertaste.

I feel that the lion’s share of the flavors burn brightest at the very end of the sip.  I struggle to pinpoint the specifics of the hop and malt components as the fluid dances about my taste buds, but just moments after the swallow, a hearty smack of grapefruit strikes me.  Then, just following, I get a mouthful of dry, grainy biscuit.  At no other point in the journey does the word “dry” seem appropriate, save for the very end.  Just in time for another quenching gulp.

Summary.

Have you noticed that the opening track of almost every album that has been released over the past 10 years, if not for much longer before that, is one of the best songs on the album?  It’s important from a marketing standpoint.  You need to entice the listener immediately or they will move along.  That’s the kind of world we live in.  There is just so much out there that artists have to wow you early and often to stand out.  far too often, what follows is a bunch of filler.  One or two good singles and then a bunch of crap.  Yet another digression.  My disdain for overproduced pop music could easily lead me astray.

Let me be clear, this beer is absolutely not a one hit wonder, but it kind of reminds me of a good album that has a flawless opener and then…a bevy of solid songs that never quite live up to the standard that was set at the beginning.  At first smell, this beer is hop heaven. The moment the beer enters the mouth, it pops with sappy hop burn.  Then, it plods along as a good double IPA with impressive balance.  Will I give this beer a bad score?  Fuck no!  It’s god damn excellent.  But…it does pain me a little that it failed to sustain the early high.  Ever so close to perfection.  Perhaps they had to leave room for Exponential Hoppiness.  Need!

Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 1.00

Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 2.00

Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.92

Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.61

Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.86

Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.96

Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 9.35

Events for Week of March 21, 2011

EVENTS!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Smuttynose Beer Dinner: Milton, Massachusetts

6:30PM-9:00PM @ Abby Park

Smuttynose is one of my favorite breweries- their IPA, Wheat Wine and Barleywine are all amazing and hopefully on the menu tonight! Enjoy a 5 course specialty dinner paired with 5 Smuttynose beers for $55.00. Call 617-696-8700 or email Aja (aja@abbypark.com) for reservations.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grand Teton Thursday Beer Tasting: Greenville, South Carolina

5:00PM-7:00PM @ The Greenville Beer Exchange

Grand Teton Brewing Company hails from Victor, Idaho and brews some extremely delicious beers! This week we will be tasting their Bitch Creek ESB, Sweetgrass American Pale Ale, Pesephone Pils, and Black Cauldron Imperial Stout. Drop in anytime between 5pm and 7pm this Thursday to experience four Idahoan beers (and how many of those can you say you’ve had?) completely FREE!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stone Brewing Co. Tasting: Boston, Massachusetts

5:30PM-7:30PM @ Wine Emporium

Stop by tonight to sample Stone Brewing Co. beers all the way from Escondido, California (sounds warm and sunny): Featured beers will include:

Stone IPA
Stone Smoked Porter
Arrogant Bastard Ale
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
Ruination IPA
2010 Old Guardian
2011 Old Guardian

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dogfish Fest: Dallas, Texas

11:00AM-5:00PM @ The Common Table

The Common Table is tapping 12 Dogfish Head beers all on one day, Saturday March 26th- starts @ 11AM.

Here’s the lineup: HOT DAMN!

Bitches Brew
Burton Baton
90 Minute
Indian Brown
60 Minute
Raison d’Etre
Palo Santo Morrin
Chateau Jiahu
Red & White
Aprihop
90 Minute dry-hopped through a Randall
Midas Touch
Namaste (yet to be confirmed but likely will be available)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Meet the Brewer, Cantillon: Escondido, California

3:00PM-5:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.

Spend two hours in the presence of beer holiness- Jean Van Roy, the head brewer of one of Belgium’s finest, Cantillon. Cantillon is known for brewing traditional lambics for over 100 years. We have been there, its amazing as are the beers.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Brown Bag Night “Stouts”: Los Angeles, California

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Blue Palms BrewHouse

The idea is that this is a way to strip away any pretensions and preconceptions about specific beers you are drinking, and to challenge and educate your palate about the flavors and aromas you experience.Price of admission? Just a bottle or two of beers that you bring in for the occasion. If you’re bringing a 22 oz. or 750 mL bottle, one should be enough. If it’s a 12-ounce bottle or can, please bring two (if possible– if you only have one, just bring the one).

If you want us to post about an event, go to an event or want to just drink good beer- email me at jess@beerblotter.com or leave a comment!

Spring Is Here! So Is Seattle’s HopScotch Festival

This year will mark our third year attending HopScotch- a beer and scotch festival at Fremont Studios in Seattle. Although I do not go for the scotch (or tequila), the vibe is always great, the beers are flowing and you are guaranteed to have a good time. What more could you ask for?

Oh you want some information? Below are some festival facts from the HopScotch official website:

Hop Scotch Spring Beer & Scotch Festival is a premier beer, Scotch, wine and spirit tasting experience benefiting the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). On April 1 and 2, Fremont Studios transforms into a swanky beverage tasting lounge featuring over 80 libations to swirl, sniff and sip.

Entrance includes tokens to sample beer and wine. For an expanded tasting experience, optional spirit samplers of Scotch or tequila may be purchased as well as an hour-long Scotch Seminar with the Master of Whisky. Develop your sense of taste at the stylish indoor setting of Fremont Studios on April 1st and 2nd, 2011 at Hop Scotch Spring Beer and Scotch Festival.

Hop Scotch is a benefit for the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). SIFF’s mission is to create experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world. It is through the art of cinema that we foster a community that is more informed, awake and alive.

Hours are Friday, April 1 from 5PM-12AM and Saturday, April 2 from 1PM-12AM. Admission is as follows:

  • $30 General Admission: Admission, 5 oz. commemorative tasting glass and five beer/wine tasting tokens. $25 in Advance
  • $35 Grand Admission: Admission, 5 oz. commemorative tasting glass and ten beer/wine tasting tokens. $30 in Advance
  • $15 Non-Tasting Admission: Admission and four tickets good for water or soda redeemable at the Hop Stop booth. Available at the door and online in Advance

Most importantly what breweries will be there- I have bolded and starred the ones to go for.

#1 Heineken | Lager

5%

A horizontal fermentation process results in unsurpassed clarity and brightness, and makes Heineken’s characteristic taste as good on draught as it is in a bottle. The smooth, full-bodied lager has a complexity that balances between fruity notes and a distinctive bitter taste.

 

#2 Heineken Light | Lager

3.5%

Heineken Light is a light-tasting, refreshing beer that maintains the subtle cues of the original Heineken signature flavor. With only 99 calories and 6.8 grams of carbohydrates per bottle, it represents the perfect opportunity to up-sell to domestic light beer drinkers.

#3 Dos Equis Lager | Lager

4.5%

Dos Equis Lager is a crisp, golden, and refreshing beer. It is brewed with pure malt, hops, and water to deliver a unique taste with a dramatic, bracing quality.

#4 Newcastle Brown Ale | Brown Ale

4.7%

Golden brown in color, with rich, full-bodied flavor, Newcastle is a dark beer unlike any other: an unparalleled combination of character and drinkability.

www.heineken.com

21st Amendment Brewery

At the 21st Amendment, they celebrate the culture of the great breweries of old, making unique, hand crafted beers, great food, and providing a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere that invites conversation, interaction and a sense of community.

#1 Back in Black | Black IPA

6.8%, IBU:65

Brewed like an American IPA but with the addition of rich, dark malts, this beer has all the flavor and hop character you expect with a smooth, mellow finish.

#2 Bitter American | Pale Ale

4.2%, IBU:44

Our extra Pale Ale has lower alcohol but all the flavor and hop aroma you expect from a much bigger beer.

www.21st-Amendment.com

Alaskan Brewing Co.

Alaska has a rich history of brewing. From the explorers of the 1700s through the Gold Rush, many a thirsty Alaskan has been able to enjoy locally made beers. In 1986, 28-year-olds Marcy and Geoff Larson reignited that tradition when they opened the Alaskan Brewing Company, the 67th brewery in the country and the first brewery in Juneau since Prohibition. Alaskan beers reflect many of the same characteristics of beers that were brewed here during the gold rush era. From the historically based Alaskan Amber recipe to alder-smoked malts and Sitka spruce tips, Alaskan beers reflect Juneau’s local brewing history and innovation.

#1 Alaskan Summer Ale | Other Ale

5.3%, IBU:18

Alaskan Summer Ale is a Kolsch style ale that balances a softly malted palate with the clean freshness of hops. In the tradition of the style, neither overpowers the other. Both hops and malt come together to refresh and renew the palate. The straw-gold color and easy drinkability are an enjoyable way to celebrate summer.

#2 Alaskan Imperial IPA | IPA

8.5%, IBU:70

Rich in color and full in flavor, Alaskan Imperial IPA is Packed with Northwest hops over a sturdy malt body. The Latest from our “Pilot Series” is brewed in small batches.

www.alaskanbeer.com

BridgePort Brewing Co

Oregon’s oldest Craft Brewery. BridgePort means: “Bridges of Portland.”

#1 BridgePort KingPin | Double Red Ale

7.5%, IBU:65

Triple hopped, Double Red Ale that has the unique flavor of rye malt.

#2 BridgePort Café Negro | Coffee Infused Porter***

7.5%, IBU:65

The perfect blend of Porter with a bold flavor of roasted coffee. Rich and creamy.

www.bridgeportbrew.com

Crispin Cider

All natural hard apple cider. Made from fresh pressed Northwest fruit, not concentrate.

#1 Crispin Cider

5%

A classically styled, but untraditional hard apple cider. Fruit forward, with a fresh, crunchy appley nose and a deliciously creamy, refreshingly crisp mouth feel. Gluten Free. Where to Buy: Whole Foods, QFC, Marketime Foods

#2 Fox Barrel Pear Cider

4.5%

This delicately balanced cider is like biting into a ripe pear. The hand crafted subtlety of this 100% natural beverage pays homage to finer French ciders. Our remarkably versatile Pear Cider is consistently awarded gold medals at national and regional competitions. Gluten Free. Where to Buy: Fred Meyer

www.crispincider.com

Deschutes Brewery

Deschutes Brewery, located in Central Oregon along the banks of the wild and scenic Deschutes River, has brewed a family of handcrafted ales since 1988. Starting out as a small brewpub in the heart of downtown Bend, Deschutes’ first beers were Black Butte Porter, Bachelor Bitter and Cascade Golden Ale.

#1 Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale | Pale Ale

6.4%, IBU:60

Red Chair NWPA is named after the oldest operating lift at Mt. Bachelor here in Central Oregon. As a debut Northwest Pale Ale, it’s an adventure all its own.  It has a plush body with satiny caramel flavors derived from seven varieties of malt.  Yet, despite it all, it remains a hop-forward ale with that distinctive citrusy punch.  Just minus any mouth-puckering bitterness. Where to Buy: Grocery Stores that Sell Craft Beer

#2 Hop Henge Experimental IPA | IPA***

9%, IBU:95

Several pounds of Centennial & Cascade  hops are in each barrel with a heavy dry-hop presence to top it off. A blend of crystal, pale and carastan malts creates an overall biscuity characteristic that is dense and muscular, building the alcohol base to support the monstrous hop profile. Where to Buy: Pubs and Grocery Stores that Sell 22 oz. Bottles

www.deschutesbrewery.com

Diamond Knot Brewing Co.

Since our humble beginnings in 1994, Diamond Knot has seen huge growth thanks to our loyal fans. We’re known for our Northwest-style IPA’s, but we also produce everything from a light Blonde Ale to a Dry Irish-style Stout. We currently offer four retail locations, three in Mukilteo and one on Camano Island, for patrons to enjoy fine food and our handcrafted ales.

#1 Diamond Knot India Pale Ale | India Pale Ale***

6.2%, IBU: 40

Copper-colored with a malty character up front. Intensely bitter with hints of grapefruit and cedar imparted by heavy-handed additions of Galena and Columbus hops. Where to Buy: Pubs and Groceries Throughout the Puget Sound

#2 Slane’s Irish-Style Red Ale | Irish-Style Red

6.6%, IBU: 30

A sweet, caramelly aroma gives way to a distinct malty flavor and a smooth, creamy finish that will leave you thirsty for more! Where to Buy: Pubs and Groceries Throughout the Puget Sound

www.diamondknot.com

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

At Firestone Walker Brewing Co. we integrate traditional brewing discipline, a fascination with wooden barrels and a passion for the craft to create some of the most awarded pale ales in the world. We believe our commitment to balanced and unique beers has helped fuel the revolution in taste that is sweeping across America.

#1 Double Barrel Ale | Pale Ale

5%, IBU:30

We’ve honored the traditions of the great British Pale brewers of Burton-on-Trent using our patented Firestone Union oak barrels. You’re left with a mild blend of vanilla and toasted oak flavor touched with an elegant hint of English noble hops. DBA is the flagship of our company and wildly popular. Where to Buy: Whole Foods

#2 Union Jack | IPA***

7.5%, IBU:70

Union Jack is the recipient of numerous awards including back to back wins at the Great American Beer Festival. Bold citrus and pineapple aromas meet savory malt flavors resulting in a truly balanced effort. A beer true to its origins; deeply hopped and bolstered for a long voyage. Where to Buy: Whole Foods and Local Liquor Stores

www.firestonebeer.com

Flyers Restaurant and Brewery

Full Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant features a fresh menu with everything from soups, salads, burgers and sandwiches to steaks and seafood. The bar has 14 taps with several rotating guest beers to compliment Flyers’ house brews and a full bar with premium spirits and cocktails. There are over 100 seats available with both inside and outside seating.

#1 Pacemaker Porter | Porter

5.5%

Robust Porter in style, this dark, full bodied ale has notes of roasted barley, coffee and bitter sweet chocolate. Fast becoming Flyers’ flagship beer. Where to Buy: On Tap and in Bottles in WA, OR and ID.

#2 Afterburner IPA | IPA

6.5%

A hop lover’s delight! Our I.P.A. is loaded from start to finish with five hop additions and balanced by English and German malts. Where to Buy: On Tap and in Bottles in WA, OR and ID

www.eatatflyers.com

Fremont Brewing Company

We are a small, family-owned microbrewery founded in 2008 to brew small-batch artisan beers made with the best local ingredients we can find. We use barley from the Okanogan Valley in British Columbia, hops from a 4th generation hop-growing family in the Yakima Valley and water from the Cedar River Watershed in the Cascade Mountains. Located in the historic Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, you can drink our beer at our Urban Beer Garden, on draft at many fine bars and restaurants in the area — or pick up a keg or growler to go.

#1 Universale Pale Ale | Pale Ale***

6.2%, IBU:65

Fremont is the self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe” and Universale, our flagship product, honors the namesake of our unique location. Universale Pale Ale offers a distinctive Northwest twist on the classic pale ale, using a select blend of Gambrinus pale roasted malt and Old World malts balanced with classic Northwest hops to achieve a heavenly beer of rich malt flavor and subtle hop spice. This is beer. Enjoy. Where to Buy: Brewery, Seattle, Spokane, Bellingham, Tacoma

#2 Interurban IPA | IPA***

7.5%, IBU:65

Named after Fremont’s most famous outdoor sculpture, Waiting for the Interurban, Interurban India Pale Ale offers the adventurous beer lover a warm embrace of Gambrinus roasted pale malt swirled with a hand-selected blend of flavor malts and filled with the rich spice of Chinook, Centennial and Cascade hops. Interurban India Pale is a session beer, eminently drinkable throughout the year. Where to Buy: Brewery, Seattle, Spokane, Bellingham, Tacoma

www.fremontbrewing.com

Georgetown Brewing Co.

Founded by Manny Chao and Roger Bialous in September 2002, Georgetown Brewing Co. is located in south Seattle’s historic Georgetown neighborhood. We are a true, local craft brewery, with all of our ingredients coming from the Northwest.

#1 Manny’s Pale Ale | Pale Ale

5.3%, IBU: 38

A careful selection of Northwest hops, premium barley, and our unique yeast give this ale a rich and complex malty middle with a snappy hop finish. It’s truly a micro that finishes crisp, clean, and smooth. Where to Buy: On Draught at Local Pubs

#2 Lucille IPA | IPA***

6.9%, IBU: 85

Columbus, Centennial, Amarillo and Cascade hops.  Floral, citrusy and awesome. Anything so innocent and built like that just gotta be named Lucille. Where to Buy: On Draught at Local Pubs

www.georgetownbeer.com

Kona Brewing Co.

In 1994, Kona Brewing Co. became the first craft brewery to take root on Hawaii (the Big Island). Since then, Kona Brewing Company has been committed to making handcrafted ales and lagers of uncompromised quality.

#1 Longboard Lager | Island Style Lager

4.6%

Longboard Lager is a beer originally introduced by Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii.  It is a crisp and moderately hopped pale lager, with an exceptionally smooth after flavor. Longboard takes over four weeks to ferment and cold condition, more than twice the time of Kona’s ales.

#2 Koko Brown | Brown Ale

5.5%, IBU: 28

Is there anything more iconic of the lush tropics than the coconut? The delicious heart of this island treasure has a nutty, toffee flavor and aroma that sends you straight to the beaches of Paradise. Kick back with a Koko brewed with real toasted coconut and savor the mahogany color and smooth, roasty malt taste.

www.konabrewingco.com

Lagunitas Brewing Company

From our earliest days of striving to make consistently good beer, and instead making beer that ranged from vile, to barely drinkable, to wonderful, to elegant, to questionable-at-best. From being castigated by our West Marin neighbors to finally suffering an ‘eviction’ by our West Marin septic system. From landing in the welcoming arms of Petaluma, and actually getting our beer into bottles, onto the streets, and into the hands of sympathatic beer geeks, to steadily losing less money each month. From all this and more, Lagunitas Brewing Company is emerging as a battle-tested brewery capable of making great beer out of goat’s milk, brambles, and asphalt on the surface of the Moon, if need be.

#1 Little Sumpin Wild | Other Ale****

7.8%, IBU: 65

Another Big Sister of the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale…. Loads of Malted Wheat for a Curious Malt Foundation and a Light Color, But Our Belgian Yeast Leaves a Huge Flavor and Complexishness. Where to Buy: Your Friendly Neighborhood Grocery Stores

#2 Brown Shugga | Other Ale

9.9%

How Come you Taste So Good?? Boatloads of Pure Brown Sugar in Each Batch, That’s How! The Rich, Roasty and Mysteriously Drinkable Ale might best be described as… Irresponsible. It Leaves a Lot of Stories in it’s Wake. Where to Buy: Your Friendly Neighborhood Grocery Stores

www.lagunitas.com

Lazy Boy Brewing

Lazy Boy is a small family owned brewery. We pride ourselves in using the freshest ingredients to create delicious products.

#1 Lazy Boy Bavarian Hef | Hefeweizen

5%

German style hef that boasts the traditional flavors of banana and clove. Refreshing and delicious. Where to Buy: Local QFCs and Markets

#2 Lazy Boy Dry Hop IPA | IPA***

5.5%

This is new for us and has been well recieved. IPA infused with aromatics from dried oranges and corriander. A wonderful blend of hops and citrus. yum yum. Where to Buy: At the Brewery

www.lazyboybrewing.com

Mac and Jack’s Brewery

We are a draft only brewery located in Redmond Washington.

#1 Two Tun IPA | IPA

7%

Mac & Jack’s IPA is a refreshing, smooth, & balanced India Pale Ale. Using a variety of specialty malts and plenty of locally grown Yakima valley hops, we have created an IPA that has great hop flavor without being bitter. Pale roasted malts give our IPA a deep golden hue, and solid malt backbone, which nicely compliments its crisp hop finish. Copious quantities of hops are added very late in the boil giving the beer its floral aroma and hop forward character. Where to Buy: Bars & Restaurants

#2 Serengeti Wheat | Hefeweizen

4.7%

A crisp, refreshing American style Hefeweizen that is brewed with the best ingredients the Northwest has to offer. We use 50% locally sourced two-row pale malt and 50% locally grown northwest malted wheat well above the required 30% wheat additions to be called a wheat beer. This Northwest style Hefeweizen is unfiltered for a “cloudy” appearance and brewed with plenty of Yakima valley hops yielding a wonderful citrus finish, delicious with or without a lemon garnish. Where to Buy: Bars & Restaurants

www.macandjacks.com

Mad River Brewing Company

Mad River Brewing Company is located in the beautiful small town of Blue Lake, California in the heart of Humboldt County.  Now in our third decade we continue our commitment to producing award winning fine ales combining the most traditional brewing methods with an environmentally sound approach.

#1 Steelhead Double IPA | IPA

8.6%, IBU:95.2

Malty, hoppy and strong, Double IPA is dry hopped with Amarillo hops for a fresh piney and citrus flavor and aroma. Aggressive, but perfectly balanced.

#2 Jamaica Red Ale | Amber

6.5%, IBU:45.3

Our legendary red ale. This mahogany hued ale brings an intense spectrum of spicy aromatic hop character balanced by a full-bodied caramel richness.

www.madriverbrewing.com

New Belgium Brewing

Employee owned and 100% alternatively powered, New Belgium Brewing was started in the Basement of Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan back in 1991.  Fast forward a few decades and now New Belgium brews are sold in 26  states and are about to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary.

#1 Ranger IPA | IPA***

6.5%, IBU: 70

This clear amber beauty bursts at the starting gate with an abundance of hops: Cascade (citrus), Chinook (floral/citrus), and Simcoe (fruity) lead off the beer, with Cascade added again for an intense dry hop flavor. Brewed with pale and dark caramel malts that harmonize the hop flavor from start to finish, Ranger is a sessionable splendor for all you hopinistas. Where to Buy: Major Chain Stores and Bottle Shops

#2 1554 Brussels Style Black Lager | Other Lager

5.6%, IBU: 21

1554 Enlightened Black Lager uses a light lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. In 1997, a Fort Collins flood destroyed the original recipe our researcher, Phil Benstein, found in the library. So Phil and brew master, Peter Bouckaert, traveled to Belgium to retrieve this unique style lost to the ages. Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel.

www.newbelgium.com

MacTarnahan’s

#1 Mac’s Amber | Amber

5.1%, IBU:32

One taste of Macs and you’ll taste the tradition of a true Portland Original. Since the beginning of the craft beer revolution, MacTarnahan’s has been producing bold and flavorful brews . MacTarnahan’s is a deep copper-hued Amber Ale balanced with fresh Cascade hops from the great Northwest. Distinct, Bold and Original It’s hard to beat a Mac. It is damn good beer! Where to Buy: Everywhere

#2 Sling Shot | Pale Ale

6.2%, IBU:27

You always know better, but sometimes you just don’t care. Mischief is just creativity stretching its legs. Sling Shot is a seasonal Extra Pale Ale for the spring with rich golden color. Its lively hopped flavor makes for a mischievously good and refreshing ale that “hits the spot!”

www.macsbeer.com

Ninkasi Brewing Co.

Oregon’s Ninkasi is one the nation’s fastest-growing breweries, thanks in large part to an unsubtly named beer (Ninkasi was the ancient Sumerian goddess of brewing)-Total Domination, a potent, aggressive IPA with pungent hops and flavors of citrus rind and carmel.

#1 Total Domination | IPA***

6.7%, IBU:65

Multiple hops collide in balanced perfection, dominating the senses, achieving total satisfaction. Where to Buy: On Draught and in 22 oz. Bottles

#2 Spring Reign | Pale Ale

6%, IBU:38

Notes of toasted malt up front, with a bright and crisp Northwest hop finish, it’s a session beer that everyone can enjoy! Where to Buy: On Draught and in 22 oz. Bottles

www.ninkasibrewing.com

Pyramid Breweries

The Seattle Alehouse, our original location, offers a world of extraordinary tastes waiting to be explored on draft including our year-round beers, rotating seasonals, as well as a few unique Pyramid offerings you won’t find anywhere else. Enjoy a pint, explore a Pyramid Sampler, or order a growler of brewery fresh beer to go. Pair your brew with a tasty selection off of our full menu of classic brew house cuisine.

#1 Live Wire | Hefeweizen

7%, IBU:30

The first in the Series, Live Wire, is a bountiful Imperial Hefeweizen that takes Pyramid’s gold medal Haywire® Hefeweizen to impressive new heights. The gratifying result delivers a rich and full-bodied wheat character, robust hop balance, and punched-up alcohol content. Where to Buy: Pyramid Ale House and Local Restaurants, Bars and Stores

#2 Curve Ball | Blonde or Golden

5%, IBU:18

Our deceptively drinkable golden summer seasonal is a crisp, clean-tasting, cold lagered ale. This frosty thirst quencher is the perfect accompaniment to summer adventures. Where to Buy: Everywhere

www.pyramidbrew.com

Redhook Ale Brewery

Redhook has been brewing quality beers for 30 years! From its humble origins in Seattle’s Ballard & Fremont neighborhoods to a state-of-the-art brewery in Washington, Redhook continues to deliver outstanding craft beers to consumers. In July 1994, Redhook completed its Woodinville WA brewery, just 20 miles east of Seattle. The beautiful facility features expansive grounds and the Forecasters Public House, where you can  sample all of the Redhook brews and pub-style meals. Forecasters Pub is open daily please see our website for detailed hours.

#1 Redhook Pilsner | Pilsner

5.3%, IBU: 25

May not look it but has a dark side. Redhook Pilsner is brewed in a traditional Czech style. It offers a very soft palate and malt flavors that are offset by a medium dose of distinct Czech hops to bring out its authentic flavors. Available year round beginning March 21, 2011.

#2 Redhook Wit | Other Ale

5.2%, IBU: 12

Made with ginger but still has his place in his heart for Mary Ann. Redhook Wit is a twist on the traditional Belgian brew. A balanced mixture of spices, orange peel, coriander and ginger give this wheat beer a smooth yet distinct flavor. It is brewed with Kolsch yeast, and we decided to steep the spices in the whirlpool for 15 mins just prior to cooling and fermentation; similar to a finishing hop addition. As with cooking, this method keeps the spice flavors and aromas intact, and soft/subtle.

www.redhook.com

Samuel Adams

The Boston Beer Company began in 1984 with a generations-old family recipe that Founder and Brewer Jim Koch uncovered in his father’s attic. After bringing the recipe to life in his kitchen, Jim brought it to bars with the belief that drinkers would appreciate a complex, full-flavored beer, brewed fresh in America. That beer was Samuel Adams Boston Lager®.  Today, the Company brews more than 21 styles of beer.  The Company uses the traditional four vessel brewing process and often takes extra steps like dry-hopping and a secondary fermentation known as krausening.

#1 Samuel Adams Wee Heavy | Wee Heavy

10%, IBU:30

Was inspired by both traditional Scotch ales and Scotch whiskies, for a combination of deep roasted flavor and earthy smoke character. Traditional Scottish ales vary in intensity with the strong ales known as Scotch Ale or “Wee Heavy”. To create our own version of the style we added peat smoked malt to bring the unique flavor of Scotland to this complex and satisfying brew.

#2 Samuel Adams Rustic Saison | Saison

4.3%, IBU:35

An incredibly complex yet refreshing beer in the classic style of Belgian farmhouse ales, traditionally brewed to quench the thirst of farmers throughout the summer months. The unique character of our brew comes from its Belgian yeast that imparts floral, fruity, and estery flavors. These flavors are layered with slightly sweet herbal notes and a citrusy hop character for a bright and satisfying summer brew.

www.samueladams.com

Seattle Weekly

#1 Seattle Weekly Voracious Brew | Imperial Red Ale

8.2%

Brewed by Lazy Boy Brewing, the Voracious Brew is an Imperial Red made exclusively for the fine people at the Seattle Weekly. Lazy Boy has used four different kinds of malts to brew this bodacious beer. The hop flavors are a combination of Palisades and Magnum in the dry hopping stage. This 8.2% beverage is powerful yet remarkably smooth to drink. Enjoy!

www.seattleweekly.com

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Founded in 1980, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is one of America’s first craft breweries and is highly regarded for their use of only whole-cone hops, and for the spirit of quality, and craftsmanship in everything they do. This pioneering spirit continues though their decades of innovation in the brewhouse, and through advances in environmental sustainability. Sierra Nevada sets the standard for artisan brewers worldwide with their broad line of beers including their iconic flagship Pale Ale.

#1 Pale Ale | Pale Ale

5.6%, IBU: 38

Inspired by the Sierra Nevada mountains, we created a unique beer highlighting the bold flavors and piney-citrus aromas of whole cone hops. Today, our all natural, bottle conditioned Pale Ale is recognized worldwide as a classic. Where to Buy: Just About Anywhere Beer is Sold

#2 Summerfest | Other Lager

5%, IBU: 28

Summerfest is a Pilsner-style lager brewed for your enjoyment on a warm summer days-featuring a slight malt sweetness, delicate spicy and floral hop flavor, and a crisp, refreshing finish. Where to Buy: Just About Anywhere Seasonal Beer is Sold

www.sierranevada.com

Silver City Brewery

Silver City Restaurant & Brewery is the Kitsap Peninsula’s premier destination for award-winning, handcrafted beers, outstanding food, excellent customer service, and great memories in a fun, friendly environment. Silver City was started in 1996 by Co-owners Steve & Scott Houmes, and it remains a locally owned and operated family establishment. Silver City Brewery’s award-winning, handcrafted beers are available at more than 350 Puget Sound area bars, restaurants, and grocery stores throughout Kitsap, Jefferson, King, and Pierce counties.

#1 Whoop Pass Double IPA | IPA***

8.5%, IBU: 85

Without a doubt the boldest and hoppiest mother of a brew Silver City has ever created. More than 50 lbs. of Washington State Columbus and Cascade hops are infused, injected or otherwise inflicted upon a single 15 barrel batch. Welcome to hop country! Where to Buy: Whole Foods

#2 Fat Woody Scotch Ale | Other Ale***

9.2%

What happens when Silver City brewers take a world class beer like Fat Scotch Ale and age it for over a month on American white oak? A completely unique and wonderful beer emerges. The slight peaty, intensely malty scotch ale and the complex vanilla character of the oak meld over time to create an exceptional beer.

www.silvercitybrewery.com

Snoqualmie Falls Brewing

Proudly making fine, hand crafted ales in Washington since 1997.

#1 Wildcat IPA | IPA

6.7%, IBU: 77

The balanced hop monster! This is one IPA with enough malt backbone to stand up to its 77 IBU’s from 100% Columbus hops. Where to Buy: Select Grocery Outlets

#2 Triskaidekaphobia | Other Ale

8.6%, IBU: 36

There is no need to be afraid of the number 13, we have actually created this Belgian style tripel in celebration of our 13th anniversary. Triskaidekaphobia is a great balance of crisp clean malt, lemony hops and spice. Unfiltered but clear to the eye, Trisky is made from 100% German pilsner malt, Belgian candy sugar, 100% Czech Saaz hops and Belgian ale yeast. Where to Buy: Select Grocery Stores in the Seattle Area

www.fallsbrew.com

Stone Brewing Co.

#1 Arrogant Bastard Ale | Other Ale

7.2%

This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. Where to Buy: Most Stores

#2 Stone IPA | IPA***

6.9%, IBU: 77

An “India Pale Ale” by definition is highly hopped and high in alcohol – you’ll find our Stone India Pale Ale to be true to style with a huge hop aroma, flavor and bitterness throughout. If you’re a hop-head like us, then you’ll love our Stone India Pale Ale! Medium malt character with a heavy dose of over the top hops! Generous “dry hopping” gives this beer its abundant hop aroma and crisp hop flavor. Where to Buy: Everywhere

www.stonebrew.com

Trade Route Brewing

Trade Route Brewing was established in 2007 to explore the beer frontier. Their taproom in Pacific, WA pours beer for the adventurous made with a bounty of ingredients from around the world.

#1 Joker Ale | Pacific Northwest Amber

6%, IBU: 40

This bold amber is hoppy and unfiltered in the classic Pacific Northwest Style. We combine premium pale and crystal malts to form a pleasant malty base, then add enough Cascade and Centennial hops to create a balanced beer with a citrusy hop finish. This beer is easy to enjoy by itself and pairs well with most foods. Where to Buy: On Draught in Washington

#2 Mango Weizen  | Wheat Beer***

5%, IBU: 3

A refreshing beer with the subtle aroma and flavor of mangos. We use 50% wheat malt in the brew, along with premium barley and a touch of Saaz hops. Fresh mango puree is added after fermentation to create a beverage great when enjoyed by itself or paired with your favorite barbecue. Where to Buy: On Draught and in 22 oz. Bottles in Washington

www.traderoutebrewing.com

Widmer Brothers Brewing

“I quit!” In 1984, brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer, in the midst of dual quarter-life crises, decided to quit their jobs, follow their dreams and devote themselves to their true passion—brewing beer full-time. To this day, that rebellious spirit and love for all things beer define Widmer Brothers Brewing. Prost! to doing what you love.

#1 X114 IPA | IPA

6.2%, IBU: 50

Named for the experimental hop that came to be known as Citra, this aromatic IPA balances perfect proportions of big fruit and citrus flavor with hints of peppery spice, caramel malt sweetness and a bitter, but smooth finish. It’s one experiment that bears repeating. Often

#2 W’11 Russian Imperial Stout | Stout***

9.3%, IBU: 65

An extremely rich and complex beer with tremendous body and mouthfeel. Spicy hop aromas are apparent. As well as Chocolate and Coffee aromas. The generous use of roasted barley and other specialty malts, such as Midnight Wheat result in a deep opaque black beer and thick brown beer foam. Well hidden in this complex beer is nice layer of alcohol.

www.widmer.com

It is a blast every year. Expect some solid IPAs at this event. Enjoy! Cheers!

Portland Wows, Upright Stuns And Le Pigeon Haunts My Dreams

Four Play teases my better senses. Want to steal, need now.

Sunday was quite the trip. It lingered through Monday, but no regrets. Upright Brewing rocked my world. Le Pigeon made me redefine the word “burger.”

Upright Brewing was celebrating their 2nd Anniversary, so we made it a point to get their early to taste the new release. But, we couldn’t help but to shuffle around the city to visit some other favorites.

 

Top of the Morning with Imperial Workhorse

 

I won’t jump right into Upright’s display of greatness, because we had some other amazing visits that I’d like to share. First off, we visited Laurelwood’s production brewery in NE neighborhood of Hollywood.

Laurelwood Brewing recently released its first ever batch of Imperial Workhorse, a larger than life version of its iconic Workhorse IPA. The big brother is 9.9% and almost 100 IBUs. At first sip, it immediately wakes you from whatever slumber you might be residing within. The beer is incredibly flavorful, sharp and non-boozy. Lots to like about that beer, and the brewery will be bottling a limited amount in swing-top bottles that will be available at the brewery. Hint: Do not miss the Bourbon Barrel Aged Moose & Squirrel Russian Imperial Stout – I actually preferred this beer to the Imperial Workhorse.

 

Upright’s Rise to the Top

 

We left Laurelwood to head over to Upright Brewing, where we spent an hour crying in the last drops of each beer. Its that good. Watching it reduce to nothing was so incredibly painful.

Upright Brewing decided to release a sour version of its Four, a 4.5% wheaty farmhouse ale. The beer, appropriately named “Four Play,” uses a combination of fresh Oregon cherries, brettanomyces and lactobacillus yeasts aged in Pinot Noir barrels. This beer is right now, my beer of 2011. Drinking this beer reminded me of standing in front of Jean Van Roy in Cantillon’s tasting room, drinking one of their more celebrated Lou Pepe lambics – its that good. Incredibly smooth, yet refreshingly tart, the cherry flavor is subtle enough to keep this from being a kriek, but pronounced enough to not be forgotten. Do not miss, if you can find it.

To prevent a one-sided affair, Upright also decided to pour its last remaining portion of its christmas ale, Noel. This spiced farmhouse ale is aged in Pinot barrels and spiked with cherry juice. The wood really works well on this beer, because the alcohol is barely noticeable and it goes down very smooth. The spice is unforgettable, hitting you with concentrated dosages of black pepper and herb. Had Four Play not knocked me out of my boots, Noel would have stole the show.

To end our visit, we had a great talk with owner/brewer Alex Ganum. If you want to meet a great brewer and better guy, chat with Alex. Ganum hails from the ballyhooed ranks of Ommegang and certainly knows how to make incredible beer. Despite his incredible success (they made the Rate Beer Top 50 Brewers in year 2), he remains a normal guy, more than happy to stand and chat with his customers over a beer.

 

Some Old Favorites

The remains of duck wings, flanked by Fred.

 

After leaving Upright, we had quite the whirlwind trip around the east side. We visited renowned bottle shop Belmont Station, who was holding its 14th Anniversary sale (Congrats). There we got our first tastes of Corvallis brewers Block 15 and Flat Tail Brewing. Block 15 poured several bourbon barrel aged brews, including the rare Pappy’s Dark Ale. Pappy is a Strong Ale aged in 10 year old Pappy Van Winkle barrels for 2-4 months. While a few other Block 15 barrel aged beers were surprisingly unimpressive – this one blew our minds. The Pappy wood is noticeably more rich and flavorful than other bourbon barrels, and we agree its worth the extra dough.

After Belmont, a visit to Hair of the Dog was simply nostalgia and routine. Why the hell would you ever go to Portland and not get indulge in Alan Sprints’ craft? The house flight of Greg (a spiced pilsner?), Blue Dot, Fred and Adam, will warm the cockles.  If you are lucky, Alan might be serving the duck wings, a stack of 3 full wings smothered in a rich gravy. Get it.

 

A Burger for the Ages

 

Last but not certainly not least – a visit to Le Pigeon. While we were waiting for this renowned eatery to open, we ran over to Burnside Brewing and tried the Oatmeal Pale. I was surprisingly impressed by that beer, as Pales typically do nothing for me. The oatmeal was absolutely noticeable and really changed the body of this otherwise simple beer. But, 5:00 PM rang and we ran back to Le Pigeon.

Nothing to say. Look and admire.

Why are we running? Rumors of Le Pigeon‘s incredible burger have haunted my dreams for weeks. I have seen glaring images of this burger in nightmares in the previous few nights. It was seemingly stalking me – and for good reason. Le Pigeon makes 5 of these bad boys each night. Thus, its incredibly important to get in there when they open at 5 PM. By 5:15 PM, all 5 orders had been placed.

Le Pigeon has an earthy, classic gastropub feel. Sitting at the bar, you feel part of the kitchen and the decor makes you feel right at home. It only took about 60 seconds to order our burgers with greens ($13) and our $4 Pilsner Urquells (they also have $2 High Life – got to love it).

The icon of glory arrived before me in less than 15 minutes. I had ogled at its creation, built from the implements of success, beauty and wonder. Its time. I sliced the perfectly charred ciabatta bun in half and dig in. What followed was a protein orgasm smothered in pickled specter. I have no doubt in my mind that this is the best burger I have ever tasted – and my companion agrees. The meat is top notch, cooked to a perfect medium rare, maintaining its juiciness. The pickled slaw on top is such an added treat that you barely notice the perfectly melted cheese that covers 100% of the burger mound. Perhaps most important is the fresh powdered ciabatta roll that was charred to perfected, giving the burger an “off the grill” flavor.

Its not often when a Sunday in March results in my favorite beer of the year and my favorite burger of all time (and that is saying a lot). This past Sunday, Portland floored me. Well played, PDX.

 

 

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