Since I am not currently indulging in libations, Im going to cut to the chase– Your week in beer!
Tuesday, January 24, 2011
Jolly Pumpkin, Stone and Nogne-O Collaboration Dinner: Detroit, Michigan
6:30PM-9:30PM @ Michael Symon’s Roast Detroit
Stone Brewing’s Greg Koch, Jolly Pumpkin’s Ron Jeffries and Iron Chef Michael Symon of Roast come together for the release of JP Collababiere, the final brew of the three brewery collaboration (between Jolly Pumpkin, Nogne-O and Stone) series. Each beer was brewed at each breweries facility in their own style with a base recipe and a local ingredient. The three beers will be featured within a four course meal along with other favorites from the three breweries.
The event starts at 6:30 and there will be two live bands as well.
The restaurant is closed to the public for this event.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Founder’s Double Trouble Tapping Release Party: South Bend, Indiana
5:00PM – 12:00AM @ Fiddler’s Hearth Public House
We are talking one of the best Double IPAs in the country- made by Founders. Tonight taste this epic brew and its brandy barrel aged version. Hot damn!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Dogfish Head Night: Hulmeville, Pennsylvania
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Hulmeville Inn
There is a pretty amazing line up to accompany the firkin Dogfish Head 75 min IPA and it goes a little something like this:
75 Minute firkin
90 Minute on the Randall with homegrown Cascade hops
World Wide Stout
Palo Santo Marron
maybe the Punkin’
Friday, January 28, 2011
16 Tons IPA Fest: Eugene, Oregon
5:00PM-10:00PM @ Sixteen Tons Beer & Wine
January 27th-29th Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 5-10pm Featuring 60+ IPAs!
No entry fee. Cash Only Event. Beers are $1-$2 for 3oz tasters. Event will be held at 16 Tons.
Friday & Saturday eat dinner at the Fest! Nosh Pit will be set up out front making a fresh delicious sandwiches with local ingredients.
Initial Breweries/Beer List here: http://sixteentons.biz/blog/?page_id=527
(work in progress)
* Sierra Nevada Hoptimum
* Uinta Crooked Line Detour Double IPA
* Vertigo Brewing Friar Gone Wild Imperial IPA
* Coalition IPA
* Fort George OmegaTex
* Hop Valley Alpha Centauri Binary IPA
* Avery duganA IPA
* Mikkeller 10
* Revelation Cat Woodwork Series Acasia
* 10 Barrel Apocalypse IPA
* Alameda Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA
* Southern Tier Oak Aged Un*Earthly
* Victory Yakima Glory
* Victory Hop Wallop
* Silver Moon HOPpopatamus
* Southern Tier Gemini
* BrewDog Hardcore IPA
* BrewDog Mikkeller I Hardcore You
* Firestone Walker Double Jack IPA
* Flying Dog Double Dog
* Marin Eldridge Grade White Knuckle DIPA
* Midnight Sun Cohoho
* Midnight Sun Mayhem
* Mikkeller 1000 IBU
* Mikkeller I Beat yoU
* Mikkeller Single Hop Simcoe IPA
* Moylan’s Hopsickle IPA
* Natian Old Grogham Winter IPA
* New Belgium / Elysian Trip VII Black Belgo Winter Here / Summer There
* Cascade Lakes Centennial IPA
* Deschutes Hop Henge
* Dogfish Head Burton Baton
* Draper Brewing IPA
* El Toro IPA
* Southern Tier Iniquity Imperial Black Ale
* Deschutes Hop Trip
* Deschutes Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale
* Dieu du Ciel Corne du Diable
* Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
* Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA
* Epic Armageddon IPA
* Flying Dog Raging Bitch
* Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
* Green Flash Imperial IPA
* Green Flash West Coast IPA
* Hale’s Supergoose IPA
* Lompoc C-Note Imperial IPA
* Mad River Steelhead Double IPA
* Ninkasi Mystery IPA
* Ninkasi Tricerahops
* Oskar Blues Gubna
* Sierra Nevada 30th Our Brewers Reserve
* Southern Tier Un*Earthly IPA
* Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
* Stone IPA Stone Lukcy Basartd Ale
* Three Creeks Hoodoo Voodoo IPA
* Victory HopDevil
* Widmer Brothers Deadlift Imperial IPA
* Alaskan Double Black IPA
* Beer Valley Leafer Madness
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Cigar City Brewing Total Tap Takeover: Sarasota, Florida
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Stout Brunch: Exton, Pennsylvania
11:00AM-3:00PM @ The Drafting Room Taproom And Grille
Forget the brunch buffet- check this mouth watering list out!
Port Older Viscocity
Founder’s Kentucky Bourbon Stout
Rogue Russian Imperial Stout (Vintage 2009)
Flying Fish Exit #13
Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
Stoudts Fat Dog
Long Trail Coffee Stout
Broolyn Black Chocolate Stout
Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout
Weyerbacher 15th Anniversary
Nogne Dark Horizon (First Edition)
Victory Storm King “Cask Conditioned”
East Meets West: Doylestown, Pennsylvania
7:00PM-9:00PM @ M.O.M.’s – Maxwell’s On Main
Ballast Point Brewing Company from San Diego, Ca
Big Eye IPA
Dorado Double IPA
Piper Down Scotch Ale
Paired with a selection of East Coast cheeses!
Come join us!!!
Call or inquire within
$30 per person. Limited Seating – RSVP now!
If you go to an event or want us to promote an event on the site, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Well, I made it all the way through. There were a few days of struggle, a few pushes. In the end, I had the gumption to get it done. 30 days and many beers – but each night a Christmas ale – are complete.
There were highs thanks to De Dolle and Hair of the Dog – and there were lows due in part to Ninkasi and Bridgeport. But all in all, I loved each evening. The beer did as I had hoped: restored Christmas to its rightful jolly state.
Throughout the process, I posted a blurb about each beer on our Facebook page. After 30 days, I made my choices. Here are the results:
Top 5 Beers – Overall Quality:
1. De Dolle Stille Nacht 2009
2. Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws 2009
3. Troegs Mad Elf
4. Nogne O/Jolly Pumpkin/Stone Special Holiday Ale 2009
5. Great Lakes Christmas Ale
Honorable Mentions: Brasserie Thiriez, Goose Island 2009 Xmas Ale, Fremont B-Bomb, and Silver City Old Scrooge
Top 5 Beers – Christmas Style:
1a. Nogne O/Jolly Pumpkin/Stone Special Holiday Ale 2009
1b. Great Lakes Christmas Ale
3. Anchor Christmas Ale 2010
4. Maritime Jolly Roger
5. Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas
Honorable Mentions: Eggenberg Samichlaus, Silver City Old Scrooge, De Dole Stille Nacht, and Breckenridge Christmas Ale
Top Beer Description:
Most of the time when I wrote these reviews, I was half intoxicated at a bar typing on my phone. The quality of the review depended on my motivation level and surrounding conversations. Some beers were cheated, others were given too much (See De Dolle Stille Nacht for “too little” and Fremont Abominable for “too much”)
My favorite description came from drinking an Anchor Christmas Ale at Collins Pub in Seattle:
The Xmas ale is their staple, a seasonal release of many years. This year it tastes like some took a glass of milk, nuked it, dropped in 5 gingerbread houses and a black tea bag and put it in a laundry machine for 6 hours. After that, I drank it. It’s delicious, a fine example of Christmas flavors.
Top Memory of 30 Days of Christmas Ale
One night, Timperial came and surprised me with a party pig (finally, my own tap) and a bottle of Brasserie Thiriez Noel. We got sentimental:
I have a pretty good story about this brewer. Timperial and I drove out to West Flanders one morning to visit Saint Sixtus Abbey and drink the Westvleteren 12. After we got biblical, we decided to peruse the towns. We visited St Bernardus, shot the shit with local Woesteners, and proceeded to make the journey across enemy lines (kind of a joke) to France.
Escalbecq is literally 10 kilos across le border. The border is an unrecognizable line where my Tom Tom starts speaking french. We pulled up to a shanty of a farmhouse and went searching for Daniel (owner of Brasserie Thiriez). We bumped into a brute of a man (seinfeld Kramer reference) who had on denim suspenders and a weird rat tail haircut. I engaged him in conversation. He stared blankly and retorted: “oui?….” imagine the most confused vocal tone on earth, in French. That was this guy.
After nearly 10 minutes of charades, awkward hand signals and phony sign language – he finally understood “Daniel” and illistrated that he was sleeping. This guy? Le brassuer.
He also finally grasped my guzzling booze depiction. He led us to the farmhouse and we – extremely awkward – downed a few samples an bought a few bottles. On the way back to Belgium (10 kilos), we road soda’d a blonde and laughed hysterically at the hijinks. Tonight, we formed a consensus that a return was a necessity.
Thiriez makes amazing beer. They have one of the best yeast strains I have ever tasted. Grassy, earthly, active – but clean – it’s always a different experience under each cap. The Noel is phenomenal. It has a clean, yet significant scent. It packs a mouthful of cherries, strawberries, vanilla, and hay. There is no denying the French farmhouse styling – and we love it. A lively beer with a fresh scent yum.
All in all, it’s the best Thiriez brew we’ve had. Kudos to Bottleworks for pulling this guy in. If it’s on the shelf – it’s a must buy.
It was a good ride. Look for a repeat, with all new beer, next year.
So sorry for the delay. I am finally recovered from Halloween weekend as a shark attack victim. As far as beers go, it was pretty low key: Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale, New Belgium Ranger IPA and some homebrew. But now for your week in beer.
Skipping Monday, old news.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Victory Brewing Co Takes Over the Taps: New York, New York
4:30PM-2:30AM @ Rattle- N- Hum
A must stop beer bar in NYC, Rattle – N- Hum’s 35 taps will be all Victory Brewing beers. We are talking the best of the best from Wild Devil to Storm King- its going to be one hell of a Tuesday night!
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Tap Take Over: Worchester, Massachusettes
6:00PM-10:00PM @ Armsby Abbey
Another “Tap Takeover” and I’m loving the idea. Tonight in MA, Lost Abbey/Port Brewing are bringing out all of the stops, 22 of them which include, Mondo Double IPA (one of my favorite IPAs), Red Barn Farmhouse ale, 2008 Older Viscosity and Bourbon Santa’s Little Helper. A-m-a-z-i-n-g.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Jolly Pumpkin Multi-tap Night: Grand Rapids, Michigan
6:00PM-2:00AM @ HopCat
Join us as we celebrate Jolly Pumpkin from Dexter, MI in a rare multi-tap night. We will be featuring almost a dozen(hopefully) taps of one of our favorite breweries. We will be honored by special guest Mike Turriff, who will be on hand to fend any questions, comments, and notes of praise. Maybe even the Captain Ron “Spooky” Jeffries will be in attendance!-no promises. Party starts at 6pm and will end when the beer does…or at 2:30am Which ever comes first. Hope to see you there.
Friday, November 5, 2010
San Diego Beer Week Kick Off: San Diego, California
Starting at 6:00PM @ all over San Diego
Beer Blotter is going to San Diego next week to hit up some amazing events. If you are in the area, check out the website and pick the events that intrigue you the most! San Diego Beer Week is sponsored by the San Diego Brewers Guild, a non-profit whose mission is to promote awareness and increase the visibility of fresh, locally brewed beer through education and participation in community events.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Firestone Walker‘s 14th Anniversary Party Release: Paso Robles, California
12:00PM-3:00PM @ Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Firestone Walker is celebrating it’s 14th anniversary by having a beer release party for is anniversary beer “14″ and will include free samples of all component beers, free food, brewery tours, live music as well as other cool activities.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Saison Sunday School: Dallas, Texas
3:30PM- 5:30PM @ The Common Table
First of all, love the concept. Second of all, this might be the first event I have ever posted in TX. Tonight, guests will explore the often overlooked and under-appreciated spicy and refreshing Belgian farmhouse ales known as Saison. We will do it the only real way I know how… drink some. There will be 6 Saisons paired with 6 different types of food. If you didn’t know already, Saison is beautiful with food. Email email@example.com to reserve a spot!
If you go to an event, want us to mention your event or just want to discuss something beer related that is on your mind, please leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers!
As soon as I flipped my calendar to October, I immediately began to have thoughts of pumpkin beers. The countdown began to the weekend of October 16 and Elysian Brewing Co.’s Great Pumpkin Beer Fest. High profile names were released a couple of weeks before the event- Russian River, Jolly Pumpkin, Avery and Allagash. I could barely contain myself as thoughts of pumpkins danced in my head.
Pumpkin beers are an interesting breed. I find that people are disappointed when the beer doesn’t ooze pumpkin flavor. Although the juice of this large gourd does tickle my taste buds, I find the balance of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice just as tantalizing. Pumpkin beers are experimental and open for innovative interpretation which is why this particular beer fest is one I cannot miss.
Dick Cantwell, head brewer and owner of Elysian Brewing Co. is at the forefront of pumpkin beers. Not only does Dick host this event at his brewery’s Capital Hill location, he brews not one but eight (or more) pumpkin beers for this special weekend.
Elysian Pumpkin beers:
Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, The Great Pumpkin, Dark o’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout, Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner, Kaiser Kurbis Pumpkin Hefeweizen, PK-47 Pumpkin Malt Liquor, Jack-O-Bite and Mr. Yuck Sour Pumpkin Ale
Enough introduction, the time has come and gone. We have enjoyed, tasted and conquered all that is the Great Pumpkin Beer Fest. There were beers to remember, beers that didn’t live up to our expectations, glorious weather and hassles of space. The Good,The Not So Good and The Awesome of Elysian’s 6th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Fest:
- The event takes place outside and today it was sunny and crisp out. Elysian was decorated with mounds of hay, pumpkins and corn stalks. If this doesn’t put you in a festive autumn mood, then there is something seriously wrong with you. SERIOUSLY.
- The taster glass is a 4 oz (glass) snifter with an evil pumpkin face. This creative glassware is coveted by beer fest goers all around Seattle.
- Beers from all over the country: California, Michigan, Delaware, Massachusetts, Washington and more!
- Silver City’s Punk Rauchen - a pumpkin rauchbier where instead of smoking the barley like a traditional German style rauchbier they smoked pumpkins for 6 hours over apple-wood. This beer tastes like sausage, as most rauchbiers do, but also has an earthy smoothness that I attribute to the pumpkins.
- Snipes Mountain Pumpkin Death Stout- first of all, I am really into Snipes Brewing Co. and think they produce only top-notch beers. This is no exception. I always get excited when I see pumpkin infused stouts because I love stouts and I am always curious to see if the brewer is able to bring the pumpkin flavors and spices to the forefront of a style that is already overwhelmed with roasted malt flavors. Pumpkins do not inherently have a lot of flavor and here, in the Pumpkin Death Stout it is minimal. The beer however is very enjoyable, smooth and creamy.
- Elysian Brewing Co.’s Jack-O-Bite- we were pleasantly surprised by this beer which is a pumpkin ale aged in Jack Daniels barrels. This beer had a bite and lived up to its name. It had warming qualities and the spices were reminiscent of a winter ale. Delicious.
The Not So Good
- Planning a huge event is no easy task. Debriefing is proactive and there is always room for improvement. We hope that the Great Pumpkin Beer Fest will someday celebrate its 25th Annual fest. The Great Pumpkin Fest has outgrown the parking lot of the brewery. Within 30 minutes of opening the flood gates, there was barely room to stand. Problem solver: expand to all three Elysian venues, although this might complicate the logistics, it would spread the crowd. Another option would be to expand to the park across the street or to some other space that is connected to the brewery.
- Long lines-Due to the large number of people, there were very long lines to get your beers. Although these lines moved rather quickly, the lines, no matter what station, were around 30 people deep. A lot of people I spoke to would just get a beer and get back on line for the next one on their list. Problem solver: Instead of having 1 person pouring 2-4 beers, have 2-3 people pouring at each station. People love to volunteer to pour at events- tap into these willing beer lovers.
- Confusion about what line led to what station. Due to the small space, lines crossed each other and merged into the masses. I found myself accidentally waiting on line for the wrong station on a couple of occasions. This would be alleviated by the two suggestions above.
- No food outside. Now, I understand that it would be too much to staff the outside area. Problem Solver: Instead of sending wait staff out to take and deliver orders, hire an outside vendor. Something simple will do, such as a sausage stand or roasted corn. People are there for the beer, not food necessarily. However, it would be nice to stay outside, enjoying the fest while getting something in your stomach, especially because the inside was packed full of people sitting and enjoying their meal.
Besides the Good and the few tiny Not So Goods, there are some AWESOMES! Please note: all of the awesomeness are beer related. I did not get to try all of the beers, as I am only human and not all of the beers were pouring during my visit.
- Elysian’s Great Pumpkin- If you recall earlier in this article when I discuss the average beer drinker’s expectations of pumpkin beers having an easily detected pumpkin flavor, well this is the beer that hits it out of the park. One sip and its as though you are drinking pumpkin juice. It isn’t very sweet, it is slightly bitter, thick in texture and pumpkin to the core. No wonder this festival is named after the beer (or vice versa).
- Iron Hill’s Bruce Camp Ale- their Imperial Pumpkin Ale aged in bourbon barrels was my introduction to this Pennsylvania brewery and man, am I impressed. Caramel in color with a bubble gum, sweet liquor scent. The thick mouth-feel creates a sensation as if there are sugar crystals are melting into your taste buds. As the flavor profile develops, the bourbon sweetness transitions into a slight funk. As the beer warms, the transition become smoother, just like a stiff bourbon drink.
- Russian River’s Pumpkin Sour- As I crossed the threshold into the pouring area, I quickly scanned the signs for Russian River. A quintessential Vinny sour with a citrus scent, it tasted like Temptation infused with spices. The sourness was bold and the spices complemented the citrus tartness.
- Jolly Pumpkin’s La Parcela- this sour beer aged in American oak with added coco was more earthy than tart (I generally expect more tartness from a sour ale. The smell was hypnotic with a combination of cinnamon and apples warming my soul. A smooth body with mellow flavors that begin to intensify as the sip develops. A harvest spice paired with earthy flavors followed by a subtle sweetness.
What a great day– one that will go down in infamy. There were unexpected breweries that produced exemplary beers, weather was on our side (for once) and the love of beer in the air was palpable.
Written by Jess R.
A low key weekend began with a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale at Whisk(e)y Bar (my new favorite, local watering hole), several Firestone Walker Union Jack IPAs, a New Belgium/Elysian Trip III and several Fresh Hop beers (it was a rough week at work, ok). Other beer highlights include Port Brewing’s Old Viscosity, an imperial stout worth a moment of silence and a couple of tall boys of Rainier. And now for your week in beer.
Monday, October 11, 2010
” I Love New York” Beer Week Begins: New York, New York
All week @ the Spring Lounge
Start spreading the news, its All New York, all week, with beer from Brooklyn, Ommegang, Captain Lawrence, Ithaca Brewing Co., Greenport Harbor, Coney Island, Sixpoint, Southern Tier, and more. Check out www.beermenus.com for details on the special events this week.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Green Flash Night: Whittier, California
7:00PM-9:00PM @ The Bottle Room
Not only will all patrons receive discounts on beer, the first 36 guests will receive a complimentary Green Flash Brewing Co. pint glass with the purchase of a regularly priced draft (minus $1 for LA Beer Week). From there, bring your pint glass in and receive a $1 off Green Flash drafts until the kegs are kicked. Green Flash flights will be available–4-4 ounce pours for $11. Expect some special Green Flash beers not available elsewhere to the public.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Avery Rumpkin Release: Boulder, Colorado
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Avery Brewing Co.
AN IMPERIAL PUMPKIN ALE AGED IN RUM BARRELS. Stop by Avery Brewing Co. (where the magic happens) and experience the release of what sounds like am amazing, seasonal brew. Imperial Pumpkin Ale brewed with pumpkin puree and a blend of five spices. Aged in extremely fresh Gosling’s Rum barrels for six months. Consume fresh and often, preferably with a pumpkin pie and/or s’mores.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Unibroue Beer Tasting: Cincinnati, Ohio
6:00PM-8:00PM @ Catskeller
Just $10.00 and you get beer from Unibroue paired with small plates. What a deal! The menu reads as follows:
Maudite: with bruchetta
La Fin Du Monde: with bacon scallops
Ephemere: with brie and apricot phylo
Don de Dieu: with smoked turkey club with feta cut in fourths
Terrible: with sharp cheddar quiche
Trois Pistoles: with rich chocolate brownies
Friday, October 15, 2010
Cleveland Beer Week Begins: Cleveland, Ohio
From the website:
The second annual CLEVELAND BEER WEEK will take place from October 15-23, 2010. A celebration of craft and import beers, CLEVELAND BEER WEEK features plenty of tastings, dinners, activities and more at more than 100 venues throughout Cuyahoga County and beyond. We hope you will join us as we celebrate the world of craft and imported brews at CLEVELAND BEER WEEK.
This beer week will not disapoint with participating breweries such as Hoppin’ Frog, Thirsty Dog, Great Lakes Brewing Co. and more. As if you weren’t excited enough, 12 breweries who participated in the largest known collaboration of its kind in the world, creating six brews. Family members have already agreed to mail us a six pack. Oh man! For more information, visit the event site.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Great Pumpkin Beer Fest: Seattle, Washington
(Saturday and Sunday) 12:00PM – the beers get tapped and the place shuts down @ Elysian Brewing Co., Capital Hill Location
I know we already did a write up about this event, but I am so damn excited, I had to mention it here- click here for details about the event from bb.com. Expect a crowd, a well-deserved crowd of people thirsty for pumpkin beers from Elysian, Russian River, Jolly Pumpkin and so many more. Sour pumpkin beers, pumpkin stouts, spiced ales and possibly beer brewed in a pumpkin. Also, get there early and you might get a sweet little taster glass (at least we did last year).
Sunday, October, 17, 2010
Farmhouse Ale Dinner: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
5:00PM-9:00PM @ The South Philadelphia Taproom
If you go to an event, want to talk about an event or a beer you had at an event, leave a comment or email us at email@example.com. Cheers!
No doubt – this is a Top 5 Seattle beer event. Each of us, over here at Beer Blotter, agree that Elysian Brewing‘s Great Pumpkin Beer Festival is one of the can’t miss events we have here in Seattle, each year.
Elysian Brewing puts on this years celebration of all things pumpkin from October 16-17, 2010. The event begins each day at 12:00 PM and goes on through the evening.
What should you expect from this event? How about 40+ pumpkin-styled beers!
Elysian will roll out 3 or 4 beer trucks and set them up in the back lot. Each truck will pour several beers, from brewers all around the country. Here is the preliminary lineup, but remember that Elysian always holds a few names back as a surprise:
From Elysian: Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, The Great Pumpkin, Dark o’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout, Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner, Kaiser Kurbis Pumpkin Hefeweizen, PK-47 Pumpkin Malt Liquor, Mr. Yuck Sour Pumpkin Ale, and a few surprises including a new brew and treats from the Elysian Cellar.
Guest Beers From: Big Time, Silver City, Snipes Mountain, Naked City, Elliott Bay, Schooner Exact, Rock Bottom, Fremont, Diamond Knot, Anacortes, Ram-Puyallup, Rogue-Issaquah, Allagash, Russian River, Iron Hill, Cambridge, Nodding Head, Jolly Pumpkin, Dogfish Head, Stewart’s, Beer Valley & Laurelwood!
We hope that you caught some of these names and did a double take – we did. Jolly Pumpkin!? Russian River?! Iron Hill!! These are some of the greatest brewers around. You can expect to see some other surprises, throughout the festival.
One other thing. Did you see that gigantic pumpkin on the Elysian webpage? Dick and the guys over at Elysian brew a beer in one of these massive gourds each year. I am hopeful that this trend continues on this year.
Don’t miss this event – It’s one of a kind!
Week 36 of 52:
Cascade Brewing Barrel House
939 SE Belmont Street
Portland, OR 97214
Type of Establishment: Barrel house, blending facility, taproom, house of sour…
Visit: A Sunday day trip to Beervana, U.S.A. Our very first of many beer related stops of the day.
Beers on Tap (at time of visit):
Vlad the Imp Aler
Fresh Hop Porter
Mid Summer’s Pale
Bottles (available to go): Apricot, Kriek, The Vine, Sang Rouge
Food Options: Small plates/appetizers/soup/salad/sandwiches. The owners wanted the Barrel House to be open to families with children, so local law states that food must be served to allow for those under 21 to enter. The menu is fairly small and simple, but if you need a nibble whilst sampling the stellar brews, the option is there for you. Considering that almost all of the sours are in the 8% to 12% range, a little substance in the belly is highly recommended. Our visit did not include food, so we are not able to comment on the quality.
BAR OPINION: About a year ago, when Beer Blotter first heard that one of our favorite sour brewers in America would be opening a brand new tasting room in Portland, we all just sort of looked at each other with wide eyes and growing smiles and knew that we would be there as soon as it opened. The simple reason: Cascade Brewing is just downright exciting.
This brewery exists in a niche of State Side breweries that is occupied by a very elite few. An elite few that have the know-how and brewing facilities to allow for mass production in purposely infected beers. Sours. This art is not for the faint of heart, especially for those that also brew “traditional” ales and lagers that could easily be tainted with all those hazardous bugs crawling around.
If you’ll allow me to speak for all North-westerners for one moment, it feels really good to have a brewery that is unafraid to tackle this challenging but incredibly rewarding style of production in our own backyard. An Oregon brewer that can be spoken in the same breath as Russian River, Jolly Pumpkin, Avery, Allagash, New Belgium. It feels good…a pleasant sigh of relief. Cascade Brewing’s brewmaster is Ron Gansberg. That name should be remembered.
The Barrel House opened its doors to the public on September 27th, and less than a week later, all three of us were inside. Let me tell you, we had the highest of hopes for this place, and we were not disappointed in any way.
From the outside, the building, which used to be a produce warehouse, looks a bit like one of those newfangled fire stations. Very sharp-looking indeed. There is a very sizable outdoor area that offers both picnic tables and high-top tables fabricated from steel and actual wood barrels (see picture).
The seating is fairly similar inside, consisting of picnic tables, traditional booths, small circular tabletops resting on top of large barrels, and brushed metal bar stools. If you are able to peel your eyes away from the alluring bar back for just a moment, you will notice the three flat-screen T.V.s strategically placed around the room.
Naturally, we wanted to be as close to the beer as possible, so we pulled up a few stools at the bar and got acquainted with the menu. We were quickly greeted by one Cody Bottorff, Pub Keeper/Blender. This was my first time meeting Cody, but the rest of the crew had met him a little while back when he was still at The Horse Brass. He was expecting us, so after a short bit of banter and the choosing of beer number 1, we had the distinct pleasure of getting a tour of the facility.
Our first stop was the beer cooler, directly behind the bar back. This little gem has been meticulously constructed to make your beer experience as good as it possibly can be. To put it simply, the temperature and CO2 pressure regulation is painfully exacting. You can always be assured to get a perfect glass of beer. One small example of how much care went into the development of the cooler is that they went as far as to assure that the water used to clean the glassware prior to the pour is the same temperature as the beer.
The most fascinating element of this leg of the tour was the sight of the two barrels that have been inserted directly through the cooler wall. Yes, that’s right, they cut two circular holes in the wall and stuck barrels in them. This allows for two special beers to be served to the public directly from the barrel. This is freakin’ sweet! They used the tube of a bike tire to insulate the space between the wall and the barrel. That’s some real deal MacGyver action right there.
The next stop of the tour was the space that will soon act as the fruit infusion/secondary fermentation site. Remember, this place is still really new and there is still work to be done behind the scenes, thus my use of “soon”.
We then ventured to the small side room that is currently housing the fruit infusion/secondary fermentation. Though this room was fairly boring to actually look at while we were there (just a few barrels and a few recycled dairy fermenters), it was captivating to imagine what it must look like when they are filling the containers with outrageous amounts of fresh fruit. Or even, what it must smell like when there are hundreds of pounds of Bing and sour pie cherries, apricots, raspberries, blackberries, dates, etc. being generously dumped into oak barrels. I very much wished that I had x-ray vision and could see what wonderful fruity delights existed within those vessels.
The final stop in the tour was the barrel room. This was a sight to see. I can’t even tell you how much this room reminded me of Belgium, specifically the attic at Cantillon in Brussels. Oh man, I’m getting emotional just thinking about it again. All I can really say is, there is a little piece of one of the greatest beer cultures on the planet hidden in the back room of the Cascade Barrel House in Portland, OR.
From here it was back to the bar for more beers, but first, further reflection on our first round choices. For me, the Funk III was an absolute must. This was the one ‘straight from the barrel stuck in the wall’ option. Naturally, it was still un-carbonated, but it was chilled just as much of the rest of the beers. For me, this had a very strong traditional Belgian gueuze like quality. Maybe the lack of suds brought this thought on, but it was damn good and again, sent my memory reeling with thoughts of the Belgium trip. Any beer that causes that to happen is a winner in my book.
Nightfall and Noyeaux were also sampled in round 1. Nightfall is an oak aged sour blonde wheat beer with blackberries added. If that doesn’t sound good to you, you probably should have tuned out a long time ago. If you aren’t into fruit beers, it doesn’t matter, there is so much more to it than that. But, if you really want to talk about complexity, Noyeaux can pretty much be used as a synonym.
Noyeaux: 8.5% ABV / 13 IBU / $6 Glass
This one-of-a-kind NW sour is a blend of Belgian strong blondes aged in white port barrels with raspberries, then blended with select barrels of strong blondes that were aged on the toasted meat from the apricot nut, or Noyeaux.
Noyeaux has so many layers of brilliance that I don’t know where to begin. I’m not going to allow this article to turn into a Notes of a Beer Nerd so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that it’s breathtaking and that you must go get one for yourself.
Our next round saw us order four beers to be sampled amongst the three of us – Beck Berry, the one and only Brett beer that they make/will ever make (apparently Ron gave it a whack and decided that once was enough, he uses Lacto), and the three bourbon barrel aged beers: Bourbonic Plague, Vlad the Imp Aler, and Sang Noir.
I have, ever since it won gold at GABF in the wood and barrel aged sour beer category in ’09, been hoping to try Bourbonic Plague. It is a very hard one to get a hold of. Well, it finally happened and it did not disappoint. Truthfully, none of the beers disappointed, but Bourbonic Plague, of all the beers sampled, most played to my tastes. It’s essentially a sour imperial porter with strong bourbon wood notes and some spicing. Just plain insane.
Just before we made our way to our next destination we realized that it was completely dumb of us to leave without tasting the Fresh Hop Porter. You know, because it’s a fresh hop porter…who makes that?! Guess what? It was delicious. Go figure.
Seriously people, Cascade Brewing Barrel House is well designed, comfortable, and full of mind numbingly unique, complex and delicious beers. If I lived in Portland, I have little doubt that I would go completely bankrupt because of this place. No matter where you live in the world, consider it an absolute, 100% can’t miss beer location. Go there, you will thank me.
I’d also be insane if I didn’t mention that the staff is crazy knowledgeable and super nice. The world’s biggest high-five and a heart-felt THANK YOU goes out to Cody for EVERYTHING that he did for us.
Now for your week in beer.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Brewery Ommegang Tasting: Bronx, New York
6:00PM-9:00PM @ The Bronx Ale House
Enjoy a night of Belgium brews with Brewery Ommegang: Belgian Pale Ale, Cup O Kyndnes, Zuur, Witte, Rare Vos, Hennepin and Three Philosophers. Enjoy!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Saison Du Buff Trifecta Night: Chicago, Illinois
7:00PM-11:00PM @ Fountainhead
all three versions, a Saison Du Buff Trifecta!!!
Tonight enjoy three flights of each of the three breweries takes on the saison recipe as well as tapping, rare kegs from Stone, Victory, & Dogfish with food pairings to go with them. Victory Braumeister Pils paired with Sambal Spiced Noodles with Lime, Cilantro, & Grilled Chicken, Stone Chipotle Smoked Porter with BBQ Pulled Pork & Chipotle Mashed Potato Stuffed Pablano Pepper and Dogfish Head Sah’Tea with
“Pumpkin Pie” Custard with Crispy Crust & Black Tea Whipped Cream.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Goose Island Beer and Cheese Pairing: Louiseville, Kentucky
3:00PM-5:00PM @ Valumarket
Cheeses! Beers from Goose Island! Sounds like a sophisticated wine tasting- But no, come by and taste Sofie, Demolition, Matilda & Pere Jacques perfectly paired with tasty artisan cheeses.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Great Divide Kickoff: San Diego, California
7:00PM-11:00PM@ Urge Gastropub
Mark your calendars- Great Divide is coming to San Diego! 7 brews including the Yeti will be tapped tonight at Urge Gastropub.
Friday, October 1, 2010
An Evening of Chocolate and Beer: Ann Arbor, Michigan
5:30PM-9:30PM @ Jolly Pumpkin Brewery
We’ll have Patric Chocolate’s Alan McClure and Jolly Pumpkin‘s Ron Jeffries here for an informal presentation and Q&A with chocolate and beer samples. And then if your heart desires, there is a strolling beer, chocolate and food tasting featuring pairings. Ron’s brewed some very special chocolate beers for this event, and we are very excited to taste them. Chocolate and Beer Tasting – $15 – 5:30 to 6:30 PM
Price includes samples of beer and chocolate. Beer, Chocolate & Food Tasting – $35 – 6:30 to 9:30 PM OR you can buy tickets for both events for $45 and save!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Dogfish Head Tasting: Bellport, New York
1:00PM-5:00PM @ Bellport Cold Beer and Soda
Vintage, rare to find Dogfish head beers will be at this event!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Whole Foods Market Homebrew Event: New York, New York
10:00AM-10:00PM @ Whole Foods
Whole Foods Market’s Local Homebrew Hero Contest is under way and the entries have been rolling in. They will be accepting entries until Sunday October 3rd. Stop by anytime and get a copy of the Rules, Entry, and Bottle Label Forms. Entry is free and welcome to anyone interested. Check out our website for more information.
http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores … beer-room/
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On Friday we stopped at our new favorite spot, Hooverville in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle. After an accidental fire, Hooverville was rebuilt to look exactly the same as it did before. If it aint broke, dont fix it. Free peanuts for all, permission to throw the shells on the floors and a decent tap list- Dogfish head 60 Min. IPA, Ninkasi Total Domination, Odin Ruby Ale and about 10 others. On Saturday, we participated in the after party for Tour de Fat at Brouwer’s Cafe. In honor of the environmentally conscience brewery, New Belgium who hosts the event, I had a Trip III and the Fall Wild Ale. All -n- all a good beer weekend.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Beer 101: Introduction to Beer: Escondido, California
7:00PM-9:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.
One of many educational opportunities at Stone Brewing Co. Know about the beer you drink! This “class” provides an excellent introduction to the ins and outs of this ancient and delicious beverage. Sample some tasty brews and make yourself smarter all at the same time!
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Beer Tasting: Gainsville, Florida
6:00PM-8:00PM @ Dorn’s
For $15.00 stop by and taste a variety of beers- Stouts, IPAs, Belgiums and more! Snacks will be provided and you get to keep the tasting glass.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Harpoon Night Hosted by Rich Doyle: New York, New York
4:00PM-9:00PM @ The Blind Tiger
Located in Greenwhich Village, The Blind Tiger is a gem as far as beer bars go and my favorite haunt in NYC. Tonight, they are featuring 16 Harpoon taps including two special casks made for this event only and several beers who have yet to reach the public. Brewer Rich Doyle will be there to toast to these amazing brews.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
International Beer Fest: Grand Rapids, Michigin
6:00PM-9:00PM @ HopCat
Tonight indulge in all the foreign beers you want (then take a cab home) because tonight, all imports are 25% off! Have yourself a nice little Thursday evening.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Jolly Pumpkin Night: San Diego, California
5:00PM-12:00AM @ Downtown Johnny Brown’s
This is going to be epic. So epic, I might just fly down to San Diego for this event (not really, who am I kidding?). Jolly Pumpkin Night will consist of kegs of Calabaza del Oro, Bam Noir, Bam Beire, Calabaza Blanca and Luciernaga. Also for sale by the glass or by the bottle: Noel Calabaza, La Roja and Maracaibo Especial. This will be the largest collection of Jolly Pumpkin beers on hand at once in San Diego ever. Complimentary pork butt will be served. Told you, epic.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
The Bite of Oregon: Portland, Oregon
11AM-10PM @ Tom McCall Waterfront Park (also on Friday from 11AM- 10PM and Sunday from 10AM- 8PM)
Oregon, known for great, fresh food and microbrews galore is celebrating just that. The Bite of Oregon features local wine, BEERS and culinary masterpieces. Click here for ticket prices and event info.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
IPA Fest: Hayward, California
11:00AM-7:00PM @ The Bistro
Over 50 IPAs on tap- take your pick! Not much else to say- as there isnt much else on this event. But BBQ and IPAs – what else do you need to know.
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