Monday, February 1, 2016

Third Time is a Charm at NW Coffee Beer Invitational

While the first two years of the NW Coffee Beer Invitational were good, in its third year it was even better. The overall quality of the beers continued an upward trend and it was great to see some new breweries in the mix. Some tickled my taste buds more than others so without further ado, my top four.

Fire on the Mountain Brewing - Caffe Corretto - "A rich stout conditioned with fresh cold pressed coffee from Spella Caffe. Further aging on star anise, vanilla and a splash of Sambuca replicates the traditional and delicious Italian coffee drink in beer form. 6% ABV" I'm in the camp that loves anise flavor and this one hit all the right notes for me.

Feckin Irish Brewing - Feckin Shipwreck - "This is what would have been drunk by sailors shipwrecked off the Caribbean islands circa 1750. Its roots are made of Feckin's Double Irish Oatmeal Porter. The addition of coffee, from Happyrock Coffee Roasting, unlocks notes of rum, fresh coconut and vanilla beans. 6.7% ABV" Here, too, is a beer which is a like/dislike depending on your stance on coconut. It's not as overpowering as something like Oskar Blues Death By Cocount or Town Hall Three Hour Tour and may be even more deliciously drinkable from the standpoint that the coconut is more subtle and the ABV lower.



The man of the hour, Dave Fleming.
Buoy Beer Co. - Coffee Brown Porter - "This brew combines perfect elements to create a flavorful beer for you to pair with breakfast or to warm up with on a rainy day. Oats and roasted barley build the beer's rich foundation and in the secondary conditioning. Additions of hazelnut and Columbia River Coffee Roaster's dark roast coffee bring distinctive flavors to the brew. 6.5% ABV" Outstanding combination of beer/coffee/oatmeal that screams to be drunk for breakfast. At that ABV one might just get away with doing so.

Widmer Brothers Brewing - Brrrbon with coffee - "Brrrbon is the winter seasonal Brrr placed in a single use Bourbon barrel with a fresh charge of live yeast for secondary fermentation followed by 13 months of aging. The beer was able to find its way deep into the staves of the barrels and suck out every last drop of bourbon flavor and essence. Then we added a half pound of Stumptown Ethiopian Duromina coffee per keg. Chocolate, chocolate covered cherries, vanilla, coffee and bourbon dominate the nose. Those flavors continue across the palate with a fulfilling smooth finish. 13.1% ABV" A beer this big could come across hot, unbalanced or simply too much but this one does none of those things and drinks more like 8%. Dangerously delicious.



Didn't make it to the festival? Here's the information I have to date on where and when you can find beers you missed.

54° 40' - Due to its popularity they'll be brewing more, which will be available in their taproom in Washougal most likely by 2/10.


Burnside Brewing - Per their 2/3 Facebook post, it is currently on tap.

The Commons - Only one keg is left, which will be available in their taproom, possibly as early as this week and is on tap as of 2/4 per their Facebook post.


Everybody's Brewing - They'll be bottling their entry in 22oz bottles this week with first availability at The BeerMongers and Belmont Station.


Lompoc - It's currently on tap at all Lompoc locations (and it just so happens Miser Monday is taking place today at Lompoc Tavern and Oaks Bottom Public house...yeah for $2.50 pints!).


Lucky Lab - Only one keg is left and it is going on today (2/1) at the SE Hawthorne location only.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

NW Coffee Beer Invitation Preview

There is entirely too much beer goodness going on in Portland this Saturday and you'd better have a damn good reason if you won't be attending at least one of them. Not one to over commit myself where beer festivals are concerned, I'm only planning to be at one and that's the NW Coffee Beer Invitational.

This is the third year of the festival put together by Dave Fleming and the third year I'll be attending. The past two years have been blessed by unseasonably beautiful January weather (like we had earlier this week), a boon for an outdoor, albeit tented affair. Again this year there will be 16 beers available, all made with locally roasted coffee, that have the added bonus of being sessionable - 7% ABV or less.

The festival has been posting the beer line up to their Facebook page over the last couple weeks with just a few remaining to be revealed. Here's the CliffNotes version:

10 Barrel Brewing - On Sinful Grounds
54 40' Brewing (9 Bar Espresso) - Stromtrooper Schwarzbier
Buoy Beer Co - Coffee Brown Porter* made with Columbia River Coffee Roaster
Burnside Brewing - Joe Mum is So Roasty (bourbon barrel-aged wheat stout)
Cascade Brewing (Oblique Coffee) - Oblique B&W Stout
The Commons Brewery (Stumptown Coffee Roasters) - Coffee Pumpernickel Rye
Deschutes Brewery (Nossa Familia Coffee) - Augusta's Porter
Double Mountain Brewery (Heart Coffee Westside) - Space Jitters Coffee Imperial Stout
Everybody's Brewing (Stoked Blue Bird Coffee) - Cold Press Porter
Feckin Irish Brewing - Espresso Milk Porter*
Fire on the Mountain Brewing (Spella Coffee) - Caffe Corretto
Gigantic Brewing (Coava Coffee Roasters) - Koffee Brown
Lompoc Brewing (Nossa Familia Coffee) - Brazilian Blonde
Lucky Labrador Brewing - Let's Dance Lager
Pints Brewing - yet TBA
Widmer Brothers Brewing - yet TBA

*Beers exclusive to the festival

I'd love to have you join me at the festival but in case coffee beers aren't your thing or you're an overachiever who wants to hit more than one event, the other happenings on my radar:
Culmination Artisinful! Beer & Chocolate Festival 12-6pm
Baerlic 3rd Annual Stout Bout 1-6pm
Base Camp's 2nd Annual Collabofest 2-8pm
McMenamins Hammerhead 30th Anniversary (includes four variations on tap at 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop)


NW Coffee Beer Invitational
Goose Hollow Inn
12-7pm
$15 admission includes tasting glass + 8 tasting tickets

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ready Raise the Roost?

When the bottle of Portland Brewing Raise the Roost Belgian-Style Red Ale showed up on my door I was intrigued. As a self-described "non-Belgian" fan (with a list of Belgian-style beers that seems to grow daily and says otherwise) I wasn't expecting to love it but was curious to taste what Portland Brewing had crafted with Belgian yeast in the form of a red ale.

The aroma was most definitely Belgiany and I tried to keep an open mind as I tasted it. The flavor played true to the aroma but to my pleasant surprise the characteristics I generally dislike were muted or mitigated by the choice and usage of malts (2-Row, CaraRed, Melanoidin, C-120 and roasted barley) and hops (Liberty, Nugget and East Kent Golding). It struck me as a beer that nicely bridges the gap between the heavy, roasty beers of winter that are slowly departing and the lighter beers on the horizon that will herald the return of spring.

Will this be a beer for you? I don't know and there's only one way to find out - give it a go. I'll be interested to hear what you thought of it.