Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Best Things We Drank: November 27 - December 3

The last month of the year, the holidays, things are getting busy on this end so this week's Best Things is a short but sweet two-beer list. 

Baerlic Woodworker Thunderbolt Bourbon & Pinot (2015) - Enjoyed while browsing the handiwork of local craftsmen and women, it would have been quite easy to sit down and enjoy a whole bottle of this 7.9% oatmeal porter aged in bourbon and Pinot Noir barrels. The bourbon characteristics were restrained, supporting the oatmeal porter base, with the Pinot barrels giving it a most lovely, slightly tart flavor.

Mother Earth Hop Diggity - Clocking in at just a slightly higher ABV than the Woodworker, this is apparently Mother Earth's most popular Double IPA and we can see why. Starting out with a pleasant fruity-stanky aroma the flavor is just a hair lighter, making for a super easy drinking beer. Look for it in easily portable, highly visible 12-ounce yellow cans the next time you're peering in the door of the beer cooler at your favorite joint.

Now, get moving. Get all those little errands done whenever you can and for gods' sake, get those cards and packages in the mail sooner than later! Because once it's done you can really settle in to enjoy some delicious beverages.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Our Dream Beerfest

As part of a great beer writing/blogging community we were invited (challenged actually) to design our own dream beerfest. The challenge stemmed from the fact that there are SO MANY beer festivals, a seemingly endless stream of them, each with a different focus. As an attendee at more beer festivals than we can count there are some we loved and some we didn't. In putting together our festival we're pulling in the things we personally enjoyed most from each festival, which may or may not be your cup of tea. But this is our dream beerfest, kind of like the adult beer blogger version of a wish list we used to send to Santa.

Name: You Can't Drink All Day If You Don't Start in the Morning
We're early birds by nature, almost always one of the first few in line at any festival we attend and quite honestly, if we *happen* to get too deep into our cups we'd prefer to do that early in the day so as not to infringe on the next day's activities.

Theme: This will be a beer and food pairing festival but we are leaving the interpretation of that up to the participating breweries and restaurants/food carts. Cinnamon rolls and stout? Sure. Leftover pizza and IPA? Absolutely. Bacon and a barrel-aged beer? Of course. We expect that some breweries will brew a beer just for this event and wouldn't be surprised if some of our local beer-loving chefs reach out to their favorite brewers to drive a pairing.

Time: True to the festival's name and theme, it will begin in the morning. 9 AM to be precise. The festival will conclude at 3 PM.

Date: Monday, January 21, 2019
A beer festival on a Monday?!?! Yes, and this is in part due to the fact that the location is closed on Monday. Huzzah! The other part is that we know plenty of folks work on the weekends and miss out on festivals and other events. Besides, even if you usually work on Mondays this festival will be taking place deep in January when the shine of the holidays has worn away to reveal their effects and the cold, grey skies are dripping down. You need something to look forward to and this is it. Just take the day off. Or call in sick. 

Location: OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science & Industry) located in the central east side of Portland, OR. 
We've attended beer events at OMSI and while a museum, albeit a science museum, might not seem ideal but we feel it is actually a good venue. There is a handy drive up/drop off area at the front doors and ample (free with your ticket) parking. We're also currently working with OMSI on some festival-specific labs and special exhibits.

Tickets: Tickets for this festival will be limited to 420 (because this is Portland) with unlimited pours and bites. Once you are in the doors there will be none of that wondering which pocket you put the drink tickets/tokens in. We've consulted with OMSI about past events and feel confident that with the layout we're planning the festival will not feel crowded. 
Each all-inclusive ticket will be priced at $50 and will be sold via an online lottery-style system. Ticket sales will open Monday, October 1, 2018 and close Friday, October 12, 2018. A link will be posted on the festival website that will take you to a form where you will enter your information, including payment field (credit card, PayPal). You'll be assigned a number and at the close of ticket sales 420 numbers will randomly be drawn. Lucky number holders will have their form of payment charged immediately and be notified by Wednesday, October 17, 2018. Limit 2 tickets per person and are transferable. 

Additional Details:
Water stations - As seasoned imbibers we know the importance of hydration and will provide an abundance of water stations throughout the festival both to keep attendees hydrated and glasses rinsed.
Glasses - We don't believe that great beer should be consumed out of plastic "glassware," and each attendee will receive a 4-ounce glass mug with handle (for easy carrying by one's pinkie or attaching to one's belt if that's how you want to roll).
Outside food/water - While this is a festival where food is included in the ticket price and water stations will be abundant, we believe that you know what works best for you. So bring in that bag of chips if you want. Bring in your favorite water bottle or strap on a Camelback.
Bean bag stations - Having a place to meet up with the group you're hanging out with, to chill and chat is great. Having a place to sit down and comfortably relax is better. Tucked into the nooks and crannies throughout the festival will be groupings of bean bags with low tables. Need to catch a couple zzzzzz? Lean back and relax, we've arranged it so no Alcohol Monitor will kick you out.

We hope you like our idea but if you don't we don't mind. It's unlikely, at least with the current state of regulations in Portland (and Oregon as a whole) that this festival could become a reality. Both our requirement of glass glassware and a drink-all-you-want set up seem to run against what is often possible. But like that pony/Barbie Dream Mansion/Atari that used to regularly grace the list for Santa, we can always dream, right?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Best Things We Drank: November 20 - 26

This week's list is all over the style spectrum but solidly in the land of Get Your Hands on These Beers If You Can.

Montavilla Hunter of Shadows CDA - Getting your hands on this one might be beyond the realm of possibility as only one keg of this beer that was dry-hopped with Cryo Citra hops, Idaho 7, Magnum and a 'mystery hop' was produced and was tapped last Thursday. That being said even limited beers have a way of popping up unexpectedly and if was as well received by the rest of the people that drank it as it was by us then Michael and the crew need to make more. Roasty and dark without being bitter and clocking in at a moderate 6.5% this would be one we'd like to enjoy throughout the dark months ahead.

The next two beers, both from The Commons, graced our lips thanks to generous beer friends who not only invited us to join their Thanksgiving feasting but broke out multiple beers from their cellar.

Photo credit: Untappd user Rico S.
Good Problems - When this bottle was pulled out we couldn't help but think about foreshadowing as it is a collaboration with Modern Times that was produced at the end of 2015. A Saison with brettanomyces strains from both breweries and nebbilo grapes (an Italian red wine variety) from the Columbia River Gorge, all of the components of the beer were present and as would be expected from both of these breweries, perfectly balanced.

Bourbon Little Brother (2014) - On paper a Belgian Strong Dark Ale wouldn't catch our eye however when it's been produced by The Commons it's a different story. We first enjoyed this Heaven Hill bourbon barrel-aged beer nearly six years ago, the first year it was produced and it was good then. This three year old vintage has held up well and is tasting wonderful, amazingly easy drinking for 10%.

New Holland Incorrigible Reserve White Sour Ale with Mango & Pineapple - The lightest of the list at 4.5% it is packed to the max with tropical aromas and flavor, balanced by just the right amount of sour bite. We enjoyed it at Imperial Bottle Shop on SE Division and as of this posting, it's still on tap. As good as it is, however, it probably won't be around for long so find an excuse* to pop in for some of this sunshine get away in a glass. 

Cheers to not just surviving, but hopefully enjoying, this holiday season we find ourselves smack in the middle of.

*We're good at excuses, for example:
- some holiday shopping that needs to be done at one of the many nearby shops
- a hungry belly that needs to be filled at one of our favorite places, Bollywood Theater
- you just need to sit down to escape the crush of the holidays.